MORE than 500 participants including students from more than 10 higher learning institutions took part in the NASA Space Apps Challenge recently at Petrosains, Kuala Lumpur, to design innovative solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth.
For 48 hours, 179 teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students across the globe collaborate to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualisations and platform solutions by using publicly available data. The hackathon was jointly organised by Unlock Design Sdn Bhd (UDSB) in collaboration with Petrosains.
Petrosains chief executive officer Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim said: “Involvement in this challenge allows us to contribute to society in a relevant and responsive way, as we are encouraging ideas and solutions to deal with the current issues important to society such as the preservation of the environment, living sustainability, exploring solutions for the space frontier and digital technology such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data.
“This challenge provides actual context and requires solving of real problems which is an excellent route in the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
“We are also pushing for social learning by bringing people of different backgrounds — programmers and non-programmers alike — to work together and reach for a common goal that will focus on improving life on earth.”
UDSB chief executive officer Shozo Yamaguchi said: “I have been always fascinated by Malaysia’s multinational culture. Over the course of hosting IT hackathon events in Malaysia, I realised that technology communities are closed and separated into small groups.
“I believe that innovation comes from the environment that has mixture of different cultures just like Malaysia society itself. Bringing a variety of new technology communities together and collaborating with NASA, I hope that the new, creative and innovative ideas that will change the world come up from the event.”
The challenge is divided into two categories: Global Awards for Hackathon and Local Awards for Ideathon.
The top two winners for the Global Awards and People’s Choice winner for the challenge will also participate in NASA Global judging competing with others from all over the world. All winners from both categories will compete in MDeC National Apps Challenge in data analysis related field.
The first group winner for the Hackathon comprises Joel Lee, Gladys Lim, Janson Chah, Wei Lip Kho and Ali Torabi. The second winner — Maish Maseeh, Ibrahim Fathih, Abdulla Niyaz, Dibakar Sutra Char and Madin Maseeh
In the hackathon challenge, participants must follow the challenges set by NASA, use the NASA’s dataset and develop their projects based on categories such as the Our Ecological Neighbourhood, Warning!Danger Ahead, Planetary Blues and The Earth and Us. Projects from the hackhaton challenge must produce tangible solutions and proof of concept for the proposed idea.
The Ideathon, on the other hand, did not use the data from NASA and projects should be focused on key ideas such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart City to enhance industries in Malaysia.