View the official judging sheet for the Invention & Reverse Engineering category here.

View the official category description for the Invention & Reverse Engineering category here.

The projects in this category must describe what problem is being solved. They must also show how the project’s device solves the problem.

A Reverse Engineering project will have enough complexity to allow the student to gain an understanding of how something works, in detail, without being overwhelming.

An Invention project may be simpler than an equivalent Reverse Engineering project because the invention itself may be something simple that no one else has yet created.

Here are the "must-haves" for an effective Invention & Reverse Engineering Project:

  • A description of the use of the device, and the benefits associated.
  • A complete ‘mock-up’, prototype, or construction of all or part of the device. If this is an invention this is the key physical portion of the project.
  • A disassembly of the completed device showing the components and/or subcomponents with a description of their purpose and how they work. If this is a reverse engineering project, this is the key physical portion, and these pieces are expected to be the centerpiece of the display. If an invention, this portion may consist of photographs, drawings, or textual descriptions of the components (and sub-components, if any) of the device.
  • A description of the tools (simple or complex), methods, and sequences required in the construction or deconstruction.

Marketing material is often key in describing a product or device and its inclusion is appreciated and recognized.

Other things to consider:

  • Research on similar products or processes
  • If an invention, how well it addresses a real-world need, and its practicality in size, cost, materials, etc.
  • Any unique or innovative methodologies or concepts that were used or understood

Sample Reverse Engineering Projects:

Sample Inventions: