For the second year running, Euskadi has been directly connected with the North American Space Agency (NASA) through the ‘Space Apps Challenge’, an initiative in which IT teams from throughout the world gather to pool innovative solutions to the challenges proposed by NASA. The Basque headquarters of the international initiative has developed, amongst other projects, low-cost augmented reality spectacles (less than 1€) and manufactured with a 3D printer.
The Basque Country has joined the nearly 100 cities from 47 countries (six in Spain) in the ‘Space Apps Challenge’, which brings together about 10,000 programmers from all over the world. This is an ITC ‘hackathon (acronym of the words hacker and marathon) which, organised simultaneously throughout the world, aims to resolve a series of technological challenges put forward by NASA. The aim is to provide future solutions for both Space and Earth.
The Basque Open Labs – located in Basauri in the Basque province of Bizkaia and with almost 2,000 m2 of space – has been the meeting place for Space Apps Challenge in Euskadi and, for the second year running, has been organised by the young entrepreneur from nearby Barakaldo, Mr. Asier Arranz.
Last weekend the initiative brought together telecommunications and industrial engineers as well as engineering and programming students, with ages varying from 25 and 50 years. In fact the Basque headquarters was host to one with the greatest participation in Spain, with 25 professionals collaborating on the various projects presented.
The Basque centre, in collaboration with 25 professionals from that in Barcelona, has stood out at this meeting for their low-cost augmented reality spectacles, developed thanks to a 3D printer. The model designed is adaptable to any mobile telephone and, moreover, having a free camera, provides augmented reality.
“This is a ‘low cost’ version of the well-known Oculus Rift, and the cost of which is less than 1 euro, thanks to being manufactured by a 3D printer, through linking lenses and thus achieving an effect similar to the augmented reality glasses of the company recently acquired by Facebook”, explained Mr. Arranz.
Besides this project, the Basque Space Apps Challenge centre has developed at its ‘ITC hackathon’ two videogames to make people aware of and alert them about the danger from asteroids, i.e. their monitoring from Earth.
Mr. Arranz explained that the projects presented from Euskadi to this NASA international competition “were already preselected as being, respectively, the best in making use of data, and the most inspiring. In the coming months, NASA will choose the projects awarded in the different categories.
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