Local winners of NASA hackathon announced in Taipei

Winners of the local edition of the NASA Space Apps Challenge, which this year is themed Earth, were announced April 30 in Taipei City, with two Taiwan teams nominated to vie against competitors from around the world in the finals of the largest international hackathon.

Organized by the American Institute in Taiwan in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taipei City Government and National Taiwan University, this event marked the first time Taipei joined the global competition alongside 186 other locations. The main stage of this year's edition was in Sydney, Australia.

During the local event's two-day run at NTU, team Space Bar, comprising students from NTU and National Chiao Tung University in northern Taiwan's Hsinchu City, outperformed 56 other rivals to claim the top honor and NT$80,000 (US$2,642) in prize money for Landslide Victory, a landslide prediction, reporting and monitoring app.

Based on data generated by NASA initiatives such as the Global Flood and Landslide Monitoring System, Global Landslide Catalogue and Precipitation Management Mission, the team created a user-friendly tool that identifies locations in Taiwan prone to rainfall-triggered landslides. The system will go on to compete for the top honor in the Warning! Danger Ahead! category.

The NT$60,000 second prize went to team MagicConch for their app that informs beach-goers of precautionary measures they need to take and recommends destinations according to individual preferences. In addition to utilizing NASA data to forecast local conditions, the system also comes with a smartband that tracks its user's heart rate and sends out an alert in the event of an emergency. It will compete in the Earth and Us category.

Staged annually by NASA since 2012, the global competition invites coders and engineers from around the world to utilize NASA data to provide hardware, software and innovation solutions addressing challenges in five categories: the Earth and Us, Ideate and Create!, Our Ecological Neighborhood, Planetary Blues, and Warning! Danger Ahead!

According to the organizers, global winners of each category will be announced during the week of May 23, with selected teams invited to attend NASA's upcoming rocket launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Source: Taiwan Today