Skip to Main Content
Hack Your World with Amazon Alexa
Challenge Type: computer science
See more like this check out our active challenges
top 4
72 months ago

NOTE: All recipients of Echo and Echo Dot devices have been contacted for their shipping information.

Alexa, the voice service that powers the Amazon Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Every skill you create makes Alexa smarter. This challenge invites you to build an Alexa skill that will improve sustainability or accessibility around us (choose one challenge).

Sustainability challenge:

Build an Alexa skill that promotes a sustainable lifestyle and empowers Alexa users to make a change in the way they live. For example, an Alexa skill that compares the carbon footprint generated by catching the bus versus driving a car. Using publicly available datasets may be useful in developing an Alexa skill for this challenge. Here are some examples:

- A number of free datasets hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS).

- Community-sourced, aggregated air quality data from around the world made available by Openaq.

- Water quality data collected by over 400 US agencies and provided by the Water Quality Portal service..

- Energy efficiency-related datasets from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

- The state of California’s open data portal contains several Sustainability focused data sets.

Accessibility challenge:

Build an Alexa skill that makes life on your university campus easier for those who may not experience it the way you do. For example, an Alexa skill that gives users directions optimized for someone using a wheelchair or scooter.

The best part…no hardware is necessary to enter. If you do not have an Alexa-enabled device, you can test your skill with Alexa right in your browser and begin building your skill right away. The contest begins on April 6 at 1:00 PM PDT and will close on May 7, 2017 at 11:59:59 PM PDT. Winners will be announced on May 31, 2017.

We can’t wait to see what you build.


Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. What is the Alexa Skills Kit?

    The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) enables developers to easily build capabilities, called skills, for Alexa. ASK includes self-service APIs, documentation, templates, and code samples to get developers on a rapid road to publishing their Alexa skills.

  2. How do I build my skill?

    Follow these resources to get started:

    - How to build your first Amazon Alexa skill

    - Watch a short video series on how to build your own skill

    - Voice design best practices

    - Alexa skills kit forum

    - Alexa Skill Kit Node.js quick start

    - Alexa Skill Kit Smart home quick start

    - Apply for AWS Educate and get hands-on experience with AWS.

  3. Can I participate in a team?

    Yes, you can participate as a team but will be responsible for splitting the prize yourself in the event your skill is selected as a winner.

  4. What will I need to enter in this contest?

    - Create a MindSumo account.

    - Create an Amazon Developer account and an Amazon Web Services account.

    - Design, build, test, and submit your skill for certification. Skills that do not pass Amazon certification during the Certification Period will still be reviewed by the Judges but will not be eligible for points awarded to published skills. See the full contest rules below for details.

    - Submit your entry on this page including: 1) your full name, 2) school-affiliated email address, 3) school name, 4) current major, 5) graduation year, 6) name of your skill(s) and SKILL ID(s), 7) a description of how you created the skill including images, screenshots, and/or video and 8) a link to your source code via GitHub. Your SKILL ID can be found in your Amazon Developer Console: Alexa → Alexa Skills Kit → Your Skills → Skill Information → Application Id. The ID for your skill is unique and starts with amzn1.ask.skill. This will help Amazon accelerate the review process for certification.

    - Submissions must be eligible for publication, meaning they should comply with our content guidelines, should not be directed at children under 13, and cannot infringe third-party IP.

  5. What is the contest timeline?

    Contest begin date: April 6, 1:00 PM PDT

    - Contest end date: May 7, 2017 11:59:59 PM PDT

    - Certification period: May 8, 2017 to May 21, 2017 11:59:59 PM PDT

    - Winners announced: May 31, 2017

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
Additional Materials:
Reward Tiers
4 Winners
will receive $400 each
$400.00 Vishnoukumaar Sivaji University of Texas at Dallas
$400.00 Bhushit Agarwal University of Nebraska - Lincoln
$400.00 Jorge Estrada California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
$400.00 David Friedman University of California at Davis
Submission questions

0 characters Average: 1662 characters
Your solution must be at least 200 characters long
Enter your info to sign in
or sign in with
Contact Us