NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017 Kathmandu Nepal

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog diary about NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017, contents herein may have been adapted from different sources. Embedded for informative purpose only. Comment for any issues if any

For the second time, with great joy and excitement, I participated in NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge 2017.

2016 was my first participation and luckily got a chance to add another to the record.

Last year, I and Aadesh made a team Chulo and competed in the event. We made a simple web application “Flight Delay Prediction” that predicts the delay in flights that might occur because of the varying weather condition. It is still live at Remember it is just a prototype.

This year, also we made to the event. Actually, we were waiting for the event for long. The location for Kathmandu(Nepal) was released lately and we registered.

This time the event was being organized by Robotics Association of Nepal in coordination with different organizations like ICIMOD, MercyCorps, Young Innovations Pvt. Ltd., and more. Corporate Tower Thapathali was the venue for the very event on April 29 -30.

Space Apps Challenge is two days (48 hours) long hackathon that is organized parallel across the globe to solve Global challenges given by NASA and some Local Challenges given by local supporting organizers. The prototype of the solution should be developed in the time and presented.

The Global Challenges are in official site while local challenges for this year’s event can be found here:slides by MercyCorps

Why attend hackathons like NASA Space Apps Challenge?

I am just trying to list out why one should participate in events like NASA Space Apps Challenge. If you are a technology enthusiast or passionate about creating solutions or you are a programmer, coder, developer, student or professional or anything, if you have will to do something then you should definitely participate.

The top reasons for participating in NASA Space Apps are:

  • learn something new While you participate, you got to do something, build something, solve some problems. You get to learn new stuff and tricks. Also, as you roam around, you will be amazed to see talented people around, you can always ask what they are doing.
  • networking The best part why I attend such an event isn’t to win or do something cool but meet new people. I like to talk with the people who are in this field, make new friends, get to know about companies, technologies, let them know about you. Also, sometimes you might find partners, mentors for you too.
  • great food and swags No doubt, you will get T- shirts, stickers, diaries, and more stuff totally free. Apart from this, you will get free domains, hostings, and so many freebies!!
  • fun and adventure For me, hackathons are full of fun. I keep on roaming, talking and enjoying the time.
  • mess around with hardware and cool stuff I like seeing hardware stuff, I am more oriented towards software but when I see hardware in action, I love them. In space apps challenge, you will see participants working with hardware and you can ask them, or build on your own.
  • win cool prizes Hackathons are incomplete without prizes, you will get awesome rewards for your work!
  • network with companies Many companies will be there to mentor and observe you, you can talk with them, know about their company.
  • national and international recognition NASA Space Apps Challenge is an international mass collaborative event, you will be competing with global participants and you will definitely get the recognition you deserve. Also, since many local companies will also be participating, you will earn fame here too.
  • participation certificate

Day #1

Day #2

What we did

We were there to network with people, have fun and enjoy the time there. Repeating the same routine daily is boring, I like to have periodic breaks. So, we were there.

Since, participation isn’t just a participation we need to build something.

We took one Global Challenge given by NASA.
The challenge was to build a web application basically a dictionary but it is more visually appealing and consists of scientific terms and definitions including acronyms given by NASA.

It is really difficult to make a complete, fully functioning applications in just two days.

We made a simple applications, a prototype to address our challenge.

And yeah, our team name as always this time was also unique: Chiraito. 😀

team chiraito

Thanks to Aadesh who is such a talented developer, solves problems in amazing way.

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We build a web application which is live at using Ruby on Rails, Wikipedia-client(for Wikipedia scraping) and some more resources.

The final part was a presentation, and below is the presentation we did followed by a quick demo.

It was really a lot of fun to participate, and roam around. 😀

me Two days went good, having good food, talking to people, learning new things, having fun, capturing photos and videos, taking an interview with the winning team before they were announced as the winner.

Following is the interview of the Team RAIT, who became the champions of NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017, Kathmandu.

They built a hardware project on Smart Agriculture that solves various problems with agriculture.

You know what? I even live-streamed the final ceremony to Youtube too. 😀

Smart Agriculture Project Details (extracted from RAN fb post)

i. The system has an LCD display which shows current moisture level of the field, temperature, humidity, water pump on/off state, irrigation pump on/off state, exhaust fan on/off state with GSM technology for information and control. Although the whole system is automatic, the farmer can also interfere with the process according to the need.

ii. Moisture level detection of small and large field using robotic technology which can measure moisture value of different place of a field log that data in memory card, analyzing the data and automatically controls irrigation pump according to moisture level data and water level data of reservoir.

iii. Controlling the motor of reservoir according to the water level of it automatically. I.e. turning water pump motor on when reservoir has less water and turning motor off when reservoir is fully filled automatically.

iv. Measurement of temperature and humidity of field and controlling these environment variables using exhaust for small scale farming like vertical farming, artificial greenhouse . v. Use of GSM technology so that farmer or owner can get information about temperature, moisture, humidity, water level of reservoir and primary source of water, irrigation pump state, reservoir pump state, exhaust fan state etc. Using these information, farmer can take action according to the data received.

vi. Farmer can send the message to run or stop the feature of the system like sending “s” in message to turn irrigation pump off etc.

vii. For commercial farming, we have developed a system based on Internet of thing so that there will be more graphical user interface and data analysis tools with computer vision system.

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About the Author
Lakshman Basnet
Nepali Digital Media Marketer currently based in Adelaide, South Australia who apart from playing with his cat - Eleven, also enjoys developing web content, publishing blogs and YouTube videos in his free time.

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