Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, has agreed to judge the Hackanode 2014 Mobile App Global Challenge on behalf of Chattanooga-based Variable Inc., creator of the Node+ modular wireless sensor.
The Node+ sensor plugs into mobile devices like iPads and Android phones, and can do everything from capturing color information of any surface to measuring barometric pressure.
Variable is offering $16,500 in prize money split across 12 categories, which will include some winners who are determined by a popular vote, and others who will be crowned by Wozniak.
"He has a track record of supporting early hardware development," said Jonathan Bragdon, chief business officer at Variable, Inc. "This isn't unusual for him."
The awards, which can be accessed on ChallengePost.com, include categories for integrating Node+ with smart glasses, barcode scanners, supply chain management and color referencing.
"We're especially trying to attract companies and industries who are looking to innovate, and have the ability to connect sensors that typically aren't connected," Bragdon said. "The Node is a device that needs an interface on the smartphone, it needs an app to turn data into usable information. The more apps there are, the bigger that ecosystem is, the more valuable the actual hardware is."