The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre


Two winners from inaugural NASA Space Apps Challenge Perth

Across the globe over 16,000 innovators, problem solvers, engineers, and creatives worked together this weekend to solve cutting-edge problems in the world’s largest hackathon, the 2016 NASA Space Apps Challenge.

The Perth node of the Challenge, organised by Bloom and Unearthed, saw 35 young hackers working at the BloomLab at St Catherine’s College to develop and pitch prototype solutions to judges from the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), Microsoft, Perth Artifactory, and CORE resources hub.

Joint Perth winners were ‘Team Inspiro’ for their flat-pack, spinning gravity platform design and ‘Team Rocket’ for their emoji-inspired visualisation of NASA environmental data. Both winners will go through to the global judging stage of the Challenge. People’s Choice Award went to ‘Pale Red Dot’ for their visualisation of local rainfall patterns.

After a weekend of prototyping solutions, analysing data and thinking like a creative genius, there could only be two winners who will now progress onto the Global Judging phase of the NASA Space Apps Challenge.

Team Rocket took on the Earth Live Challenge from NASA that asked problem solvers to develop a web tool, mobile device app or add-on for existing apps or websites that leverages NASA imagery and climate data to illustrate the impacts of our changing Earth.

“We decided that the real problem that needed to be solved was a language problem. How do you convert science language into every day language, and what is the one way that human beings (even babies) can communicate incredibly complex data? Facial expressions. So we thought how do you convert NASA data into face data? Our solution gives real-time updates on what data from around the world is saying about the changing conditions of our home. It also uses the metadata to generate music playlists on Spotify based on Earth’s current mood.”
Ben Derham, Team Rocket. Ben is a Front End Developer and Designer at Longtail.

Team Inspiro took on the Origami Space Recycled Challenge from NASA that asked problem solvers to design and model (virtually, with paper or 3D printed) the packaging of key mission components for size constrained spacecraft to minimize stowed volume, but maximize capabilities.

“Our solution was to design a flat packed structure that could unfold into a spiral exoskeleton for expandable habitats.  This new way of building a space station addresses a number of the issues involved with spin gravity: a) maintaining rotational symmetry (helping the space station stay balanced around its axis), b) making it extendable: meaning we can start with something small enough to launch on a single rocket, and build from there, and c) helping to counter the Coriolis effect: which causes unintuitive motion when astronauts move in the “pro” or “anti” spin directions on board a rotating space craft.”
Michael Le Page, Team Inspiro. Michael is currently finishing his PhD in Immunology with an avid interested in 3D printable objects.

Many thanks to our fantastic Judging Panel


(L-R): Tamryn Barker, Core Resources Hub, SKoT McDonald, Perth Artifactory, Mark Gray, Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and Dr. Chen Wu, ICRAR.

For more information download media release here

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