A Cypriot team has won Nasa’s International Space Apps Challenge 2017 in the ‘people’s choice’ category. Nestfold was voted the best team in the world by online voting,
Nestfold was the only team from the EU that was voted to proceed to the finals. It then had to compete with two teams from Bangladesh, one team from India and one from Kosovo.
The victory was announced on Monday by the University of Cyprus as the team is largely composed of the university’s students and alumni.
The team was represented by Wael Al Masri, Angelos Photiou and Daniel Surianos, who thanked the audience from around the world for the vote of confidence.
“We have been distinguished among more than 25,000 entries and 2,000 teams from 69 countries, while we have competed with countries like India. We are extremely pleased about the response that our idea has had, as well as its recognition by the world,” a representative of the team said.
“The real gold of a country is its youth,” rector of the university Constantinos Christofides commented.
The members of the winning team will attend the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, to watch the upcoming launch of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-M) on August 3, 2017, while at the same time having the opportunity to meet with Nasa scientists to discuss the possible implementations of their idea.
The ‘Nestfold’ team proposed the use of a collapsible smart shelter in the event of natural disasters which can be thrown from an airplane or helicopter.
It is designed to be easy to install and withstand conditions such as fires, floods, earthquakes and landslides. Each shelter is almost three times larger in size than before it was dropped after its landing. One of them can house 18 people and contains food for six days, first aid material, and a means to communicate with a central system.
The Nasa competition is aimed at generating ideas to find solutions to challenges faced by the US space agency. Challenges included data visualisation, mechanical design, robotics, artistic approach, as well as business ideas for future space exploration missions.