Based on a high school student's own experience at San Jose Techshop.

TechShop was a chain of DIY workshops and fabrication studios. One of the young maker, Maddox, used it extensively to design a football concussion sensor using the Arduino platform. He was surprised that there are so few young students like him studying hardware development in US, compared with the number of students for software development. He was further saddened by the bankruptcy of TechShop and the eventual closure of the MakeFaire Bay Area. After that, we decided to make a difference.

Arduino is an open hardware platform that offers a lot of flexibility to do creative things. One can build prototypes on a breadboard, or use more mature modules from companies such as TinyCircuits. This is a perfect platform for middle school and high school students to learn hardware development, and this is the platform we choose to use for our competition.

Welcome to FirstArduino US Open Competition!

Competition Application and Format

The 4th FirstArduino US Open (FAUSOpen 2024)

Due to popular request, application is open all year around but the select for the year will close by May 20 of each year.

Apply Here

Between end of May and early June, we will selected and coach upto 12 US teams to apply for World Invention Creativity Olympic.
Regional competition will be on the 2nd half of June, and national final will be on early July.
Date for World Invention Creativity Olympic is usually 1 ~ 2 weeks after our national final.

In the mean time, please learn the Arduino platform and identify a real-life problem you want to solve.

What to include in application

  • Application form
  • A Google Slides presentation (no more than 15 slides) that includes
    • motivation: what real-life problem you are trying to solve
    • idea: how to use Arduino platform to solve this problem
    • pictures of your hardware and software prototype, and describe how it works
    • what improvement you would like to make to turn prototype into real product
    • business plan to commercialize the project in the future
  • A Youtube video, no more than 3 minutes, to present your idea and to showcase your working prototype

How a project is judged

Judges include industry hardware/software engineers, designers, as well as venture capitalist (VC). Your project score will be based on
  • creativity in solving a real-life problem
  • working prototype
  • likelihood to commercialize the project (i.e. ability to launch a start-up based on the idea)

Competition Process

  1. Form a team of upto 3 people. You usually need people who knows hardware, software, design, and business concept development. Team members must be current students from middle school and/or high school in US or Canada (including home schooling).
  2. Do your project, and submit your application (see below).
    You will be assigned randomly to either East or West region.
  3. For each region, our judges will pick upto 10 teams to enter regional final, and upto 10 additional teams to receive regional Bronze Medal.
  4. Regional final will be hosted online. Each team will have 15 minutes to present their project and 15 minutes to answer questions from judge. 4 teams from each region will receive regional Gold Medal and selected for US Open national final, and 6 remaining teams from each region will receive regional Silver Medal.
  5. US open national final will be either hosted online or in person at Silicon Valley (to be determined). It will be East-vs-West single elimination bracket format as below

    Each heads-on match will be judged by 10 minutes presentation and prototype demo from each team, plus 10 minutes combined Q&A. The team with higher score will move to the next round.
    The following medals will be given:
    • National Final Champion Region : all teams in the region of the Final Championship team
    • National Final Champion
    • National Final 2nd Place
    • National Final Semi-finalist
    • National Final Best Female Inventor

World Invention Creativity Olympic

Between end of May and early June, we will selected and coach upto 12 teams to represnet US to apply for World Invention Creativity Olympic, which is usually right after above US open national final. (note that World Invention Creativity Olympic may charge a separate fee, unrelated to FirstArduino US Open.)


In addition to the medals, the four (4) teams reaching semi-final round in national final will receive the following service to turn your idea into reality.
  • 1 year coaching on how to form a start-up company based on your project
  • 1 year coaching on how to start KickStarer campaign and raise funding for your start-up
  • 1 year coaching on how to develop your ideas from prototype to final product
  • 1 year coaching on patent application
  • discount package from design service firm and volume manufacturing firm to reach initial product shipment
  • Networking opportunity with industry experts and venture capital
We hope that the FirstArduino US Open final is your first step to a life long entrepreneurship.

FirstArduino US Open : for the competition application, we only expect you develop the prototype on breadboard or use modules such as from TinyCircuits, and develop a business plan (presentation) on how to turn the idea into real business. No final product is needed.


Advanced Example: Aegis of Soteria, LLC

Aegis of Soteria developed a football concussion sensor developed based on Arduino platform. The project raised over $10K USD on KickStarer, being issued 2 US patents, and now successfully selling their product online.
Difficulty Level: Very Hard (and we do NOT expect you will get there in such a short time.)

More Projects on Arduino community

See more projects on

School Club Program

Our school club program expands your leadership by being the local student organizer of the FirstArduino US Open Competition at your school.

One student per school will be chosen as the FirstArduino Club President of your local school. As the FirstArduino Club President of your local school, you are responsible for promoting the competition, encouraging your schoolmates to form teams and to apply for the competition, and being the bridge between your local teams and FirstArduino.

If you are interested, please apply through this form. We require a no-more-than 500 words essay on why you are applying and a recommendation letter from your school teacher.

Recommended Suppliers and Resources

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