International Space Apps Challenge Kathmandu 2013 and 2014
“Innovative practices are the key to creating and discovering state-of-the-art technology.”
International Space Apps Challenge sought to bridge the gap between innovative technology and its practices. Hosted by The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the third time worldwide, International Space App Challenge is a two-day long hackathon that incorporates teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students from across the globe to collaborate and engage with publicly available data with the motive of designing innovative solutions for global challenges. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space.
The first challenge was held in the year 2012 in 25 cities around the globe where more than 2000 participated. In 2013, International Space App Challenge was organized for the first time in Kathmandu, where NASA collaborated with its local partner organizations YoungInnovations, SERVIR Himalaya and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to organize the event that was held on April 20-21, 2013 at DECC, Tripureshwor.16 teams comprising of 61 participants took part in the event where, “Karkhana Rover” was the winner which was nominated for the global competition and also received “Honorable Mention” in global arena. “Curiosity in Kathmandu” bagged the first runner up title. Organized by YoungInnovations with its partners for the second time in a row in Nepal, the second edition of hackathon was held from April 12-13, 2014 at Trade Tower Business Centre, Thapathali, Kathmandu. Similar to 2012 and 2013 there were more than 60 challenges organized in five different thematic areas: technology in space, human spaceflight, asteroids, earth watch and robotics. Participants had to choose the challenges from the pool and provide their innovative solutions. Around 16 different teams came up with their 16 unique solutions based on the given challenges. Project ‘Clean City’ who got nominated for global judging in the ‘Most Inspiring’ category was announced as the winner of International Space Apps Challenge Kathmandu 2014. Furthermore, project ‘CoolNepal’ and ‘Android Rover’ were announced as 1st and 2nd runner up. Project ‘CoolNepal’ got nominated for global judging in “Best Use of Data” category whereas project ‘Track Me’ won people’s choice award.
To support the event CSIT Association of Nepal (CSITAN) and Robotics Association of Nepal (RAN) teamed up with YoungInnovations to encourage young tech enthusiast for the hackathon. CSITAN and RAN helped in outreach and orientation session with students at different colleges. Various social media such as Facebook pages, Twitter, Google groups were in use to spread the word in active networks of IT professionals and students of Nepal about the event.
Communicating with the representatives from NASA, YoungInnovations successfully facilitated and organized the event that helped create a platform for the participants to be a part of global event where they could showcase their skills, talent and knowledge to solve problems using technologies. Also, it provided an opportunity to get acquainted and collaborate locally and virtually with participants from other cities. Similarly, partnership with relevant organizations: ICIMOD and Servir Himalaya and interaction with their experts helped participants explore and work together on different issues that could bring meaningful solutions.