Over the weekend of April 11th and 12th, IBM partnered with NASA on their International Space Apps Challenge. Over 12,000 attendees participated in the 48-hour hackathon in 133 cities around the world creating apps to solve some of the most challenging issues we face here on earth, in space, around robotics and as human beings. IBM Bluemix was used as a development platform during this hackathon and we saw Bluemix adopted by more than 3600 developers during this event.
Combining the real time data provided by NASA about earth & space, and the ready-to-use Cloud services and app development tools provided by Bluemix, developers rapidly created powerful solutions to address the challenges we see everyday. .NASA Astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman made this bold statement at the New York City Main Stage Event: “Having the tools, having a platform like Bluemix, to get these people in this place solves problems that we don’t have enough people to solve, and I think we’re going to see some amazing solutions.” – Watch the video at youtu.be/88KtkdVD8gs.
In this blog, I want to drill in and highlight three key things that I have learned
1. Creativity by combining IoT data and mobile
Wildfires are an immediate danger when they are close to human communities. When evacuating these areas, it turns out that the chosen route is crucial to people’s survival. A NYC based team created the Wildfire Navigator Mobile IoT App that analyzes the CO2 sensor data and combines real time imagery coming from NASA satellites Aqua and Terra, and builds optimized safest route API using Bluemix Python services. The route API will make predictions about potential areas that wildfires can spread to. Finding routes will take into consideration these predictions. Learn more at ibm.biz/BdXHrr
One of the NASA Space App topics was “Food Direction” – the country decision makers and the general public need to to understand the self-sufficiency of their country across decades and under fluctuating market conditions. To meet this challenge, Noordwijk team from Europe created the app “Can You Feed Me?”. This Android app uses space data combined with other data sources to create insight into the imports and exports of food in the world. It was built to withstand global demand and supply data. The app’s backend mapping web service was built on Bluemix using its Web app services and is capable of telling if there’s enough food for the population of a specific country. Learn more at ibm.biz/BdXHj8
The Great British Space Race, created an app that uses British astronaut Tim Peake’s inaugural mission to the ISS to encourage people on Earth to keep fit. Keeping track of the exercise they do, participants can pit themselves against friends to earn mission badges and astronaut wings as they race towards orbit. Groups can challenge each other, and in conjunction with gyms, teams across the world can race around the solar system by earning “rocket fuel” for their physical exercise.
2. Women can do this too
In keeping with NASA’s focus on Women in Data for the 2015 Space Apps Challenge, the Space Apps Data Bootcamp was led by many exceptional women making an impact on the world through their engagement with data. This was NASA’s first Data Bootcamp and it was a huge success for women in or interested in coding.
Women of all ages got a chance to hear several women panelist speak about their first hackathons, problem solving tips, and more. Panelists included 13-year-old Olivia Ross, who represented Black Girls CODE. She got started in coding when she was just 11 and definitely embodies what we’re looking for in future Bluemixers. Learn more at ibm.biz/BdXHsd. two creative solutions out of these thousands of apps that developers came up with in solving our earth problem in the 48 hour period.
My colleagues at IBM have recognized this trend and will build programs that specifically help women of all ages to take the leap and help them acquire necessary skills that transform their ideas into the next great product.
3. Innovation is happening everywhere.
In this rapidly evolving world, we have transitioned into an innovation economy – where capital and computing infrastructure is becoming a commodity, while creativity + speed have emerged as real differentiators in how a business can leapfrog their competition. The #SpaceApps challenge has shown that by leveraging developer’s creativity and a rapid innovation platform’s speed, you can create new solutions within 48 hours. I challenge your team to join us in our future Hackathons that my colleagues have created to challenge you to create your innovative solutions. http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/events/