1. NCC Group sponsors Space Apps Challenge Glasgow

    NCC Group is a global information assurance firm so we know all about innovation and love nothing more than coming up with new solutions.

    We decided to get involved with the Space Apps Challenge because innovation is something we truly believe in.

    And we also think it’s important to get behind our future technology experts, which is why we agreed to sponsor the Space Apps Challenge.

    One of NCC Group’s main aims is to make the internet a safer place and combatting cyber crime is essential.

    We love nothing more than giving people a helping hand and this is one of the reasons why we launched our Cyber 10k initiative.

    Much like the Space Apps Challenge, we want to stimulate creative thinking.

    The Cyber 10k Challenge is open to individuals and groups within the UK and we want people to get in touch if they can solve the cyber security challenges that both businesses and consumers today.

    We have five categories and the winner of each category will receive £10,000 and support from our team of experts to turn their idea into reality.

    And we think the Cyber 10k challenge will help to raise awareness of cyber security, while also coming up with some pretty good solutions.

     Good luck to all of those involved in the Space Apps Challenge. We can’t wait to hear all about it.

  2. For those NASA Space Appsters working on Cool It!

    We think it is awesome that you are dedicating your energy to working on the challenging problems of weather and climate.  We want to provide you with the opportunity to continue your work and build your collaborations in support of Public Lab, a non-profit organization that works with communities to develop and apply open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation.  Public Lab’s goal is to “increase the ability of underserved communities to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns.”  The urban heat island affect and climate change disproportionately burden underserved communities, and Public Lab is very interested in helping you further your Cool It! projects and finding a community that you can work with.

    With your Cool It! project, Public Lab encourages you 

    • ·         to take advantage of accessible and existing consumer products;
    • ·         to build tools people can use for self-directed research;
    • ·         to build sensor kits that people can easily host; and
    • ·         to build a network for ambient background air monitoring.

    We encourage you to connect with your fellow Cool It! Appsters via the Cool It! hackpad and think about how you can work with Public Lab by going tohttp://publiclab.org/wiki/nasa-space-apps-challenge-cool-it. You can start a new project with Public Lab by going to http://publiclab.org/wiki/new-projects.  For any questions, visit http://publiclab.org/wiki/contact for a list of local and regional contacts and resources.  You can even start your own mailing list by going tohttp://publiclab.org/wiki/mailing-lists

    For those of you in New York, San Francisco, Spain and Brazil, there is an added opportunity to build on your Cool It! project.  EcoHack is another two-day hackathon (May 9-10, 2014) where organizers will be ready to help you further build your Cool It! project.  We encourage you to submit your Cool It! project to EcoHack by going to www.ecohack.org or consider giving an Ignite talk there!

    Thank you so much for your good work.

    Darshan Karwat, Cool It! Challenge Sponsor

    Liz Barry, Public Lab

    Joe Saavedra, Public Lab

  3. Space Apps Needs Artists!

    This weekend is the International Space Apps Challenge, a hackathon that spans the globe with 94 locations on 6 continents, including right here in Glasgow.
    A hackathon is an event, usually over a weekend, where people get together to solve challenges in creative ways. Its an intense process of learning about the challenges, discussing problems from different angles, and then working with a team to design prototypes that can be presented at the end of the weekend. 
    NASAs International Space Apps Challenge is a unique hackathon in that it spans a large variety of skill areas, from educational design to software development and from fashion design to robotics. It’s a cooperative hackathon where you get more credit for working together on a project and sharing knowledge than you do for trying to prove you are the smartest person in the room. The weekend provides ample opportunity to work with people across the globe as well as the people in the same room with you.
    We would love to see you there to work on mobile app designs, the animation challenge, create a movie, design clothes for space travellers, or to design the bodies of robots and wearable gadgets.  
    If you’ve never been to a hackathon, this is definitely the one to come to. If you’ve been to a hackathon before and felt out of place, this is the hackathon to change your mind about what these events can be.
    Whether you are coming or not, please share this post with your friends and encourage them to join us!
  4. Bring The Internet to Deep Space!

    We’ve come to the point where the Internet is pretty much indispensable to most of us. Can you imagine going into space and not having access any more? Can you imagine being millions of miles away from the nearest library and having no way to look up vital information that would affect your mission? We need a reliable internet in space if we’re going to have successful missions to Mars and beyond

    This is a seriously complex challenge, and a lot of work has been done on the problem already. We are lucky to have someone at our site who has spent a lot of time studying the problem and thinking through some of the issues at hand. Richard Karus will be leading the Bring the Internet to Deep Space team at Space Apps Glasgow this weekend.

    If you are interested in this challenge, Richard has written an article on the subject for us which you can download at http://bit.ly/isac-gla-dtn

    Sign up to join us this weekend! We still have places left.

  5. 48 Hours Is A Long Time

    Not everyone stays up from the start of the International Space Apps Challenge until it’s all over, but a few people always do. Even if you aren’t staying up all night in the 11th floor at the Livingstone Tower during this hackathon, you’ll still want all the energy and clear headedness you can muster. Pizza and cola just isn’t going to cut it.

    I’m happy to say that the Glasgow event will be powered by Scottish hacker fuel Nae Danger


    They probably didn’t know before that they are hacker fuel, but now they do. All we need now is a Scottish Nerdcore rapper to encode it in a song so everyone will know. 

    Wait, you didn’t sign up yet? You better get to it! It’s just over a week away. REGISTER

  6. Space Apps Challenge is for Fashion Designers, too!

    When you say the word “hackathon”, lots of people imagine that it’s a competition between hardcore computer geeks trying to break into a network. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The term hackathon comes from the older definition of hacking:

    A creative solution to a difficult problem. A clever circumvention of obstacles, whether in computer systems, physical space, or one’s own psyche.

    At the International Space Apps Challenge, there are a range of different types of problems that need to be met with intelligence and creativity. All of them are problems that are important to NASA, the global organizers of the event, and many of the challenges have Earth-bound applications as well. Only some of them require the skills of a computer programmer. Nearly all of them need at least some help from designers of one sort or another.

    The Space Wearables Challenge is a unique opportunity for fashion designers to get their hack on. This is a challenge about form and function. It can be about wearable gadgets, if that’s what you are into, or it can be about clothes with functions that go beyond keeping you warm in the cool container of a space station. What materials should you use in space? How many pockets does a space tourist need? Can you improve the visibility of space walkers with L.E.D.s on their arms and legs? What about tracking space travelers’ bio-signs with sensors embedded clothing you wouldn’t be ashamed to wear on the street?

    What would you design?

    SIGN UP NOW for the International Space Apps Challenge in Glasgow on 11-13 April 2014 and show us your creativity!

  7. 2014 Space Apps Challenges

    On the weekend of 12-13 April, teams around the globe will be working on challenges posed by NASA at the International Space Apps Challenge. The challenges are in five categories: Technology in Space, Human Space Flight, Asteroids, Earth Watch, and Robotics

    Whether you are a programmer, a writer, a designer, an astronomy enthusiast, a hardware tinkerer,  a scientist, an environmentalist, a student, or you just think space is cool, there is something here for you to play with.

    Over the next few days we’re going to be posting about some of our favourite challenges, like Bring The Internet To Space and Fashion Designer To Astronauts

    If you are anywhere in Scotland, this is your closest Space Apps Challenge location, and you should definitely join us!

    Space Meerkat says: Register now  (Did we mention it’s totally free?)image

  8. Aaaaaaaand We’re Back!

    Are you excited about the next International Space Apps Challenge? We are! It’s coming up on the 12th and 13th of April this year.

    Last year there were over 9000 participants in 83 cities across the globe. There were participants on the International Space Station and at McMurdo station in Antarctica! The weekend event turned out 770 different solutions to challenges posed by organisations around the world and curated by the ISAC team at NASA. And we got to be a part of that. 

    CS students, professional programmers, graphic designers, jewellery makers, writers and subject matter experts of all sorts got together at Strathclyde University last year for the event. They worked on videos, mobile apps, web apps, 3D printed LED lit jewellery, and more. One participant collaborated with teams in 4 different countries over the weekend!

    This year, Geeks Without Bounds and the Strathclyde Geeksoc are teaming up again, with generous financial support from Scottish Qualifications Authority, to bring you the most exciting hackathon of the year. 

    In just a few days, the Space Apps Website will be open for signups. Follow us at @scotlandhacks or @spaceappsgla to keep up to date with all the developments as they come in.

  9. A Summary of the Day

    What an amazing weekend!
    Here in Glasgow we had 25 people sign up, and then a few people drop out before the day so that we had just 22 signups as we opened the doors Saturday morning. In the end we had 20 people actually show up to participate, not including the judges, the kids and their families. 
    The Main Projects
    We had teams working on 8 different projects at our location, plus 1 project in Panama!
    • Cupola Rider The top prize at our location, and the first to be sent up for international judging, this team developed a web application and a mobile app to allow people to see the world from the perspective of the ISS. The application not only tells you when the ISS will be overhead, it shows you what you could see if you were on the ISS right now. See a working demo of this app on Windows or Mac machines at http://www.martianapp.com/CupolaRider/earth/

    • The Great Explorer Developed a fantastic educational video about the Voyager space probe. This is one of the projects that we sent up for International Judging. See the video here: http://www.geeksoc.org/~wnelson/events/2013-04-20-ISAC-GLASGOW/2013-04-21%20-%20Voyager%20-%20The%20Great%20Explorer.mp4

    • Storm  A tribute to Storm Thorgerson, the designer of the Pink Floyd album cover ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ who passed away recently. Using NASA images of the dark side of the moon, a brooch was created in the style of the famous album cover. View the result here: http://www.calummorrell.com/Clients/SpaceAppsGlasgowSelected/content/IMG_0137_large.html 

    • COMH — Curiosity Orienteering Map Hunt  took the location data from the rover and mapped that to a real map on the earth to print out Orienteering directions for kids to use to learn how Orienteering works. One team member tested the project by taking the data from the program out to a local park and Orienteering the challenge. He came back soaking wet but enthusiastic to finish working on the project with the rest of the team.

    • ksc2013 Starting from designs on paper, this team created a design for a future version of the Kennedy Space Center using Minecraft.

    • The Dark Side of the Moon - Craft This project used the same images from the Dark Side of the Moon that were used in the Storm project, and imported them into Minecraft. A player can then explore the moonscape in the game.

    • Bob is not your uncle today, but rather an application to model air traffic and find better routes during weather problems, disasters or other occurences that throw the system into disarray.

    • Starmaker is a beaded bracelet in the shape of the constellation of Cancer, with special beads representing planets and stars and a large bead to represent the Diamond Planet.
         In cooperation with Panama:
    • Brainly Our graphic designer Linsey Tierney helped this crew with graphics for their mobile app to connect girls with women in STEAM careers.
    One of our judges, Kate Farrell, got very excited about the In The Sky With Diamonds project and immediately headed out to the shops to bring back beads and other supplies. She didn’t enter her project since she was a judge, but she did take the time to create a fantastic necklace with a binary representation of the name of the Diamond Planet, information about its annual cycle, and the date of her own 18,000th birthday, which happens to be coming up soon! I wish I had a picture of it to show you, because it was completely awesome. Geeky crafting for the win!
    The Youth Contingent
    We had 5 youth participants (not included on the main website), 1 teacher chaperon, 6 parents and 2 non-participant siblings who showed up on Sunday for the presentation phase.
    For three days during the week before the event, we (Paul and Lisha) visited Craigbank Primary School in Larkhall to work with children from the P7 class on the Why We Explore challenge. The kids produced a Prezi which you can view at http://bit.ly/craigbank-spaceapps. The kids also wrote their own scripts for their in-person presentation, which they memorized. A low-quality video of their presentation is up at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31774263 and a high quality video will be available on YouTube at some point in the not-too-distant future. (Thanks to the awesome work of John Ferguson, aka @jafwords, a secondary school science teacher and founder of Rampant Film Productions.)
    The kids arrived at 3pm on Sunday to see the other projects. I saw one kid helping Lynsey Tierney on Illustrator, and several other children working on jewelry at the In The Sky With Diamonds table. Everyone was impressed with Dougie Kinnear’s 3D printer and several people sat watching it hypnotically for a while. 
    Huge Thanks
    We’d like to send out massive thanks to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) for putting forward the major funding to make this happen. Also, the Met Office for the goodies they sent, Catapult for the T-shirts, GitHub for more great prizes, Strathclyde’s GeekSoc for the location and all they did especially in the last few days before the event and during the event, to NASA for their organizational awesomeness, and to Willow at GWOB for her mentorship and support to make this all work. Thanks also go to Calum Morrell for his photography and John Ferguson for photos and video.
    Lisha Sterling and Paul Mason
  10. Spot Earth from the International Space Station!