Hack & Söhne our main category


If you are looking for clear guidelines on what to build, where to look and how to implement your idea, this is the wrong category to focus on. You can submit any idea in this category. Be it a web-app, a Haskell API or a creative piece of digital art, our jurors will decide which project is the strongest overall.


  • First place: 3000€
  • Second place: 1500€
  • Third place: 1000€

Judging Criteria

Each juror judges the submitted ideas according to their field of expertise. We have artists, developers, entrepreneurs and investors. If your idea can convince the majority of them, you just might win.

Humanity meets Code Hacking for a better future


Hi, we’re CAS. We enjoy shaping the future together. Now, that’s a bold statement right? Exciting? Yes. A big challenge? Yes. Which is why we need open-minded people like you, people who want to be part of something big, people with values, creativity and skills. If this speaks to you, then you are in the right place.

The 21st Century is taking us to another level technologically. Just think about data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, or blockchain technology. The challenge is to align these amazing new technologies with our ethics while satisfying our requirements for freedom and equality. Not easy, but if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

Rise to the challenge: Create something from which your friends, family, society or environment as a whole can benefit. You decide which problems to solve. The biggest hurdle isn´t technological, but rather finding ways to accommodate these human issues while maintaining ethical values, responsibility and sustainability. Show us what you can do: Build an app, a website, an integrated service or anything else that you think might help.


Grand Prize: 1500€

Judging Criteria

How do we measure success? We’re not looking for perfection. You don’t need to produce a finished and highly polished solution. Remember: Done is better than perfect. You can win our hearts and the prize by developing a stunning prototype, a creative concept or even a breakthrough idea using the right mindset. Starting right is key, so if you need any help at all, for example, in finding the right idea, feel free to drop by our booth during the Hacktival at ZKM. It’s time to let those creative juices flow, so get busy and good luck!

LIDAR Challenge by EIFER and fokus.energie

Target group: Geoinformaticians, Data Scientists, Architects, Designers, all


LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technique in which laser light is used for dense scanning of the earth’s surface and high-precision X, Y and Z measurements are obtained. LIDAR technology is used in a wide range of applications from autonomous driving to the design of 3D city models.

Recently, LIDAR data in various resolutions has become freely available in NRW and Thuringia. A particular challenge is the extraction of geometrically correct objects from these data sets, such as roof shapes, vegetation, bridges, or power lines. This is relevant for applications such as energy planning, environmental monitoring, building and city modelling, urban planning or disaster management.


Get creative and get the most out of LIDAR data sets. Develop routines to identify objects, settlements or cities; create visualizations and models; link your objects with other freely available data and, last but not least, tell us HOW and for WHOM your development can be valuable (don’t hesitate to design a business case for us). Machine learning approaches are particularly suitable, but knowledge of geoinformation systems (GIS), architecture, design or urban planning or other potential user perspectives is also helpful.

Data sets


The winning team members will each receive 1 iPad and will be invited to EIFER’s “Smart City Lab” as an occasion to exchange with scientific experts and explore further developments of their project.

Fokus.energie Prize

The winning team will get from fokus.energie a professional day training on business development within the program TEAM DEVELOPMENT powered by AXEL – The Energy-Accelerator.

Judging Criteria

We’ll be looking at your ideas from four different angles:

  1. technical innovation & creativity
  2. execution & polish
  3. business model & value generation
  4. communication & pitch

For further insight on these criteria, technical support and any other question, we’ll be happily at your disposal at our booth.

Further information

The Entrepreneurial Spirit by PionierGarage


We are the PionierGarage and the first point of contact in Karlsruhe, when a new idea was born.

Every successful founder started with an innovative idea and the entrepreneurial mindset. At some point this idea has become something great! Not just a product, it has become a vision.

Also you want to create something great? To revolutionize the world with your vision? Then you are exactly right with us! We support your entrepreneurial spirit and give you a jump start!


1 month your own office in the Launchpad

The Launchpad is the perfect place to bring your idea to the next level! We will support you with our big network, lots of space to live out your creativity, and the expertise you need to launch a startup. Are you ready to let the founder out?

Judging Criteria

Show us your startup-spirit! Your Idea is innovative, the concept creative, maybe you already know how to bring your idea to the next level and your vision is catching us totally! Just have fun and be creative as you can be in building your MVP.

We’re curious about you and your idea.

Art-Installation Noise Generation of German Bureaucratic Letters

by Nino Alonso (HfG Karlsruhe), Leander Kurscheidt (ML-KA)


Are you tired of creating short-lived hackathon projects? This challenge is part of a future art-installation and certainly not an easy task.


The specific usage of german language in the area of public institutions such as job centers or insurance companies is a widespread rhetoric. This rhetoric, in german scientifically known under the term „Verwaltungssprache” (language of officialdom), is commonly used for letters. Practically, it is the method and tool for institutions to organize and communicate issues and problems with their clients.

The aim of the art project is a transformation of a dataset of documents into a trained artificial intelligence communicating in „Verwaltungssprache“. The generated text appears in an official letter, printed in random patterns to camouflage common office objects. Finally, the objects will be presented in an installation to become a visual room of melting shapes immersed in documents. Together with a large projection of various documents a voice reads the fictional letters with requirements to the recipients, who can move freely through the room. In the long run, an own, collected dataset of real documents will improve the the trained model.

Your Task


Our tasks main body of work is the automatic text generation of bureaucratic letters in the “Verwaltungssprache”. The generated output should be used as random patterns in the art installation, printed by hydrography onto common office objects. Every team submitting in our category has to provide some solution to this problem. We try our best to assist you in this challenge and provide possible training-data, pre-trained models and a small kickoff-presentation.


Furthermore, we want to challenge you and your team to come up with possible extensions of the system. From an interesting text-to-speech implementation to an interface for scanning and submitting personal documents, it’s up to you to convince us with the right idea!

We have compiled some possible extensions:

  • In order to obtain print-ready files, a post-processing program could help to transform the output of the machine learning system into random patterns.
  • The project is long-term which gives us the possibility to build up an own dataset. Therefore an easy to use web interface to submit real documents may be interesting if you like to think about interfaces. Furthermore, this web-interface could be optimized for smartphones, allowing the participants of the installation to indirectly influence the machine learning model.
  • Another field of interest could be the transformation from text into to speech. You can play with the phonological appearance of the output or just combine already existing applications to archive this optional task.

Judging Criteria

Don’t sweat it, the projects don’t need to be perfect. Your results get judged according to:

Required Task

  • text should be easily recognizable as „Verwaltungssprache“. We don’t care that much about generalizability or a perfect reproduction of bureaucratic letters. Visible Artifacts of the machine-learning model don’t need to be avoided completely.

Optional Task

  • crossover usability of the main and optional tasks.
  • creativity
  • technical implementation


It doesn’t look like we could provide any prize money. But the winner’s work will be part of the artwork and will be honored by name. If the artwork is placed with the work of your group at a festival, for example, you have the opportunity to participate. We hope to be able to place the installation at a more influential festival and thus generate relevant reach.