I have been working with Tanya Oleksuik, who works for a local arts organization in my neighbourhood, on my PhD dissertation research on mobile, locative media. Tanya was part of a team at East End Arts that developed an online, participatory oral history and arts project for Toronto's East End (read more about the project on my blog post Inspired By...Map) .
While working with Tanya, I learned about an exciting project she did as part of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) global challenge "to create mobile apps and technologies that aid in space exploration and help improve life here on Earth". I was thrilled to learn recently that her team had won for their category. It's an amazing accomplishment and showcases the innovation and talent happening in mobile media here in Toronto.
Here is the press release for this project announcing their NASA win:
May 28, 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Toronto team Kid On The Moon is on a mission – to inspire the next generation of space explorers. They were announced this week as the global winner of the NASA Space Apps Challenge for Most Inspirational project.
Over the weekend of April 22–24, 2016, developers, makers, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs took on NASA-designed challenges, creating a diverse range of solutions. Over 15,000 people worldwide took part in the 5th annual NASA Space Apps Challenge, with over 1,200 projects developed.
A part of NASA's International Space Apps Challenge, the NASA Space Apps Toronto hackathon challenged participants to think critically about technology and its effect on the world around us. The NASA Space Apps Toronto challenge took place at Symbility Intersect, at which the judges awarded Kid On The Moon as one of the winning projects, propelling them into the global competition.
"This event brings together the STEM community in a unique way to collaboratively tackle complex problems," said James Costa, lead organizer of NASA's Space Apps Toronto. "With SpaceX's recent Falcon 9 tests and NASA's ongoing achievement in space exploration, this is a great time to get kids excited and thinking about careers in space again."
Kid On The Moon is an interactive app that is dedicated to inspire children 4-8 years old become passionate about space travel through self-guided exploration of the moon both on and offline.
The Kid On The Moon team members and app creators are: Tanya Oleksuik, Huanning Wang, Allard Schipper, Katrina Shiu, Mohammad Zubayer, Nippun Goyal, James Chiu, and Sophia He. This diverse group brought together their ideas, wide range of skills, and imaginations to create the Kid On The Moon project at the NASA Space Apps Toronto hackathon in response to NASA's "Book It To The Moon" challenge.
"Toronto is a city full of creative people actively contributing to science, technology, and innovations around the world," stated City of Toronto Mayor John Tory. "I'm proud to see a Toronto team recognized by NASA and representing Toronto-made innovation on the global stage."
The winning team members will be invited to attend an upcoming NASA launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The NASA Space Apps Toronto event was supported by Lead Sponsors: City of Toronto, StartUp HERE Toronto, and XE; Host Sponsors: Phuse, Symbility Intersect, and HackerYou; and Community Supporter: Ace Hill.