Visayas Teams Advance to NASA Space Apps Global Challenge

Internet connectivity for far-flung coastal areas, sound to energy for communities with no access to electricity and a mobile application that measures individual carbon footprints emerged as top ideas during the NASA International Space Apps Challenge in Iloilo last week.

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge bring together individuals interested in space science and exploration, creative, and want to solve problems. Over 29,000 people from 80 countries and in more than 200 cities around the world are participating in the 2019 International Space Apps Challenge.

Participants of the NASA Space Apps Challenge at the American Corner of the Central Philippine University in Iloilo

Space Apps global hackathon aims to build connections across borders, sectors, and cultures to bring about paradigm-shifting innovation. Space Apps introduces problem-solvers worldwide to NASA’s free and open data. NASA missions to Earth, our Sun and solar system, and out into the universe – all gather data in pursuit of new knowledge, to expand our understanding through new scientific discoveries, and to help us to improve life on Earth. By using NASA data to solve each year’s challenges, Space Apps teams learn about NASA’s data, and share in the creation and application of the knowledge that results.

Space Apps inspires collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, fosters interest in Earth and space science and exploration, and encourages the growth and diversity of the next generation of scientists, technologists, designers and engineers. Space Apps is managed by the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. and organized in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, Mindgrub and SecondMuse.

Lawyer and ICT Advocate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue Receives Ceritificate of Appreciation from the US Embassy and American Spaces as Chief Judge for the NASA Space Apps Challenge

The Space Apps hackathon this year was set up in three locations – Manila, Davao City and Iloilo City on October 18-20 in collaboration with American Corners in Ateneo de Davao University and the Central Philippine University in Iloilo. There where nine teams which pitched to a panel of jurors from various disciplines. Lawyer, digital advocate and former local legislator Jocelle Batapa-Sigue served as chair of the board of judges.

Panel of Judges at the NASA Space Apps

Two teams, Techno PH and Voltage 5, were nominated to the global challenge and a third team, Chill Heat was cited another promising idea.

As an archipelago, sixty two percent of the population in the Philippines live in the coastal zone where Internet access is a challenge. Techno PN uses technology of software and hardware devices that aims to bring internet access to far-flung areas of the Philippines using the VHF spectrum. Inclusive growth will now become a reality even to coastal dwellers who will gain access to necessary services from government, education and private or business sectors.

Techno PH Team members Rotherford Marmibe, Nico Guarnes and Giovanni Gerard Araque

Team Techno PH’s out-of-the-box approach is to utilize the Very High Frequency (VHF) spectrum (i.e. 30 to 300 megahertz) because it has lesser usage at the moment. The lessening is attributed to the on-going migration of television broadcast from analog to digital (ISDB-T) in the Philippines. The team introduces WISH (Wonderful Internet Service is Here) – a technology that is intended for the coastal communities in dire need of data connectivity. Here is the link to their site:

Voltage 5 Team composed of Nico Andrei Serrato, Frelean Faith Engallado, Joecile Faith Monana, Raphael Francis Dequilla and Kirsten Dianne Delmo

Voltage 5 project is called Sound to Light or S-LIGHT: CONVERTING NOISE TO ELECTRICAL ENERGY aims to make use of noise as it is a byproduct of human activities that is not utilized as a form of energy. S-light can give ample and consistent supply of electricity to families in rural areas with inadequate access to this resource. Here is the link to their site:

Members of Voltage 5 receiving their ticket vouchers from Kurt Cabillon of Cebu Pacific

S-LIGHT was also awarded by Cebu Pacific as outstanding idea which won for the team roun-trip tickets to Hanoi, Vietnam and potential collaboration with Cebu Pacific for their technology.

The third team which ws cited as “People’s Choice” is Chill Heat and there project is “Chill Trip” – a mobile app designed to provide users, specifically those with private vehicles that has no pre-determined route, with the possible options that utilize the lowest carbon emission per individual. It helps users realize the amount of carbon emission that would be emitted during their transportation. The app is anchored with a map, presenting different route options, in consideration to real-time traffic situation, with computed carbon emission emission for each. In addition, this app enables you to record your data and provide statistics of your daily transport. Your data can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms to entice others to sign-up and join the movement. Chill Heat is composed of Shaira June Gadot, Florey Anne Palabrica, Menalyn Tanque, Jerian Dale Figueroa, and Riz Angele Mirabel Villanueva Panopio. Here is the link to their site: –

Overall, the teams were judged based on these criteria:

  • Impact: How much impact (quality and quantity) can this project have? Does it solve a big problem or a little problem? Will it inspire or help many, or a few?
  • Creativity: How creative/innovative is the approach? Is the project novel and something that hasn’t been attempted before, or is it an incremental improvement on something that already exists?
  • Validity: Is the solution scientifically valid? Will it do what it sets out to do? Can it work in the real world?
  • Relevance: Is this project responsive to the challenge for which it was submitted? Is it a complete solution or does it have a long way to go? Is it technically feasible? How usable or user friendly is the solution?
  • Presentation:** How well did the team communicate their project? Were they effective in telling the story of the project: the challenge, the solution, and why is it important?
Winners of the Visayas Leg with organizers with Atty. Jocelle Batapa Sigue, Chief Judge, Mylyn Garcia, Program Coordinator, American Center Manila, American Spaces Philippines, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Dr. Irving Domingo Rio, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Central Philippine University

All the nominees around the world can be found in this link:

Approximately, 30 projects shall be recognized by December as the “Global Finalists,” and are presented as candidates for one of six global awards. There are approximately five projects nominated for each global award, though NASA reserves the right to change the total number of finalists per category. The 2019 award categories are: Best Use of Data, Best Use of Hardware, Galactic Impact, Most Inspirational, Best Mission Concept and Best Use of Science.

The Global Finalist projects are evaluated by an entirely new panel of executive judges at NASA. These judges are leaders and executives at the agency with a variety of subject matter expertise. Each Global Finalist project is evaluated by each executive judge, and the top six projects are announced in January 2020.

The Space Apps universe produced 3,381 projects this year. They will be competing to be selected as global nominees. The award categories can be viewed here 

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