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Apps, Hacks, Mobile Technology, Robotics

International Space Apps Challenge – Nairobi 2013

The International Space Apps Challenge in Nairobi took part at the iHub on 20th – 21st of April. This was the second time the challenge was taking place in Kenya. The global event took place in a total of 76 cities spanning over 40 countries! This is clearly mass and international collaboration at its best. You can read more about last year’s inaugural International Space Apps Challenge – Nairobi 2012 here.

The challenges were in open hardware, software, citizen science and data visualization categories with a focus to provide solutions to challenges in space and here on earth.
Participants showed up early and teamed up. A total of 11 teams were formed. Of note was this team called “Humanz” (named appropriately due to the sheer number of members). In total they (including I) were 18!
With all those brains and pairs of hands, the Humanz decided to hack at three challenges!
There was plenty of food and snacks throughout the day and night. With sleep creeping in a few minutes past midnight, guys decided to do shake it off by doing the Harlem Shake. You can watch the pretty hilarious (and/or confusing) video here.

In the second day some teams were winding up their hacks while others were polishing up their presentations. Technologies used by teams hacking software and data visualization challenges included Java, Android, HTML5, various JavaScript libraries, CSS, SQL, and PHP frameworks like Laravel and CodeIgniter.

Hardware solutions hackers mainly worked with Raspberry PI, Arduino boards, and a 3D printing machine.

The Rover

The arduino rover

Hackers hard at work

Hackers hard at work

The solutions developed were:

Simiyu the Chicken

A game where the player helps a chicken, called Simiyu ,to jump on various leg platforms and reach the stats. As the player achieves high altitude, the game teaches him/her various theories leading to the existence of the earth, the current state and future of the universe.

MySpace Cal

A satellite scheduler that sets out to display in an easy to use way, the targets of satellites.

Roost Manager

An application that enables small scale poultry farmers to manage their poultry.

55 Ctrix

A wearable LED display that carries some basic information about the unique qualities of the planet 55 cancri. This LED T-shirt also had a printed QR Code that links to an android app with more details and images about the planet.

Mars Rovers Coders

Geo-visualization of mars over paths; the paths and photos are in near real time displayed on a rich interactive map.

The Rovers 

This mobile application utilizes a DF Rover, different sensors, a Raspberry Pi computer and a mobile PC interface all smartly put together to provide an easy and fun learning tool for students willing to learn the control login behind sensors, robots and their chipsets and the functions of the same.

Elusive Giants

This application was aimed to build a software solution that uses geo-data from Kenya Wildlife Service and NASA geo datasets to map elephants and this way, assists in monitoring their existence in the era of massive poaching which endangers their species.

Mission Light-Years

An open hardware design for the European Space Agency (ESA) that can be generated by a 3D printer whereby a 3D model of the ESA EXPERT Mission’s Payload Bay propelled by a VOLNA Launcher was designed and printed.

Will.I.R@ (Will I reach)

An android augmented reality implementation that has long term goal of enabling youths and young children to engage technically with the space activities such as lift offs, space landing procedures and ship repairs, on earth as well as on mars and on the curiosity rover.

NASA Heartz

A web and mobile app that collects data from interns at NASA based on how they feel about their work. It then generates graphs and maps then to indicate the percentages of the different emotions.


This application was built to both capture and transmit images taken on an Android phone at near-space based platform (preferably a draw) and upload it on the cloud server in real time telemetry.

Demos started after the lunch break at around 2pm on Sunday.

Space Apps Nairobi Demo day

A team leader presenting their solution

Each team had five minutes to present and demo their solution. After the judges deliberated, coming in first place was The Rovers, second place was taken by Simiyu the chicken, and in third place was 55 Ctrix.

The Rovers

Winners: The Rovers with the judges and mentors

Simiyu the chicken

2nd place: Simiyu the chicken with the judges and mentors

55 Ctrix

55 Ctrix being awarded their prize

In this year’s event there was certainly an increase in the number of solutions developed especially in the open hardware category. This is partly due to the efforts by the iHub Robotics in nurturing creativity and innovation.



About allan allay

I am a Full Stack Software Developer also pursuing a Masters in Mobile Telecommunications and Innovation. I blog, dabble in robotics and computer networks. My interests are in Social good, ICT4D, M4D & D4M


2 thoughts on “International Space Apps Challenge – Nairobi 2013

  1. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more
    enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?

    Great work!

    Posted by Windy | August 23, 2013, 10:30 am

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