Tinfoil Hat Contest Rules

NOTE: These rules are subject to the judges' interpretation. In the event of a dispute every effort will be made to come to an equitable solution, but the judges' decision will be final. This is a hacker conference, so we expect some liberties to be taken, but if we tell you "no" that means "no". The point here is to have fun and maybe learn something.

A testing head will be outfitted with a receiver. The receiver will measure signal from one or more hidden transmitters. Contestants will place their hat on the testing head, where it must remain unassisted - what good is a tinfoil hat if it won't stay on your head? - long enough to measure the signal attenuation. Contestants will not be allowed to move the testing head or to completely block the head's eyes (unless using transparent tin foil). The hat must not be in contact with anything except the testing head for the duration of the test (with one exception for the unlimited class, see below). The hat with the most attenuation for each category wins the "Substance" portion of its category.

The "Style" Category

The "Style" winner for each category will be selected by the contest judges. This portion of the contest is completely arbitrary and may be based on any subjective factors, including bribes (especially good scotch). Bonus points may be awarded (emphasis on "may") for submissions incorporating items from past cons, use of actual tin, delivery by pirates/feds/aliens, etc. Be creative! Additionally, a finite number of bonus points will be available to be awarded to those contestants who make an effort to wear their hats during the conference. A team of observers will be watching talks, parties, other contests, etc., and will be able to provide participants with a token worth a fixed number of bonus points for the "Style" portion of the contest. Tokens will be turned in and tallied prior to final "Style" judging, and bonus points will be added to contestants' scores. Highest score wins in each category.

The judges will then gather the top several (number to be determined by participation) hats with the greatest signal attenuation, and then rank them with the same capricious attitude described above to select a single overall winner for "Style and Substance".

Final Style judging will be conducted on Sunday, time TBA, with the Awards Ceremony to follow immediatley afterward.

Stock Foil

Have plenty of tin foil but short on other stuff? This is the category for you. Using tin foil, and nothing BUT tin foil, build your hat. You will be provided with a reasonable amount of tin foil and plenty of time to build your hat. You may add tin foil at your own expense, and you will be allowed to color your hat with sharpie or suchlike for decoration, but no other materials may be incorporated. Contestants can place their hats on the testing head as many times as time allows during judging, but must not monopolize the head. Highest score (greatest attenuation) will be kept.

Unlimited Foil

Have a brilliant idea for building a better tin foil hat, but can't get it done without an arduino? You're in the right place! Use whatever tools and materials you like to augment your hat, as long as the primary hat construction is tin foil. We will accept tin foil wrapped around an actual hat, but we will probably make fun of you. Unless it works really well - surprise us! You will be provided with a reasonable amount of tin foil to get you started, which you may supplement with whatever you like. Your hat must be self-contained and must be wearable on a standard head. The sole exception is that power sources (battery packs, solar panels, extension cords) may be separate from the hat, but must not support it in any way or offer any structural integrity unless it is completely incorporated in the hat above the neck.

What's in it for me

Some cool prizes. Probably. We haven't decided what we're giving away this year yet, but last year we gave away a HackRF One, graciously donated by Great Scott Gadgets. Maybe this year we go the other way and just give out the left over tin foil.

Where do I sign up

There isn't any registration or anything necessary, just show up and build a hat. We will ask you for a handle and an email address for scoring purposes, but you don't have to give us anything if you don't want to. Last year we had space in the contest area as long as it was open, and we anticipate the same this year. Follow @DC_Tin_Foil_Hat for updates and stuff. We're looking forward to seeing what you can do!