Results from the Space Application Hackathon

On 9-10 November 2018, forty-five competitors with various specialisations met at the Prague branch office of IBM to work on challenges with the goal of designing innovative services and products that find everyday uses for space technologies or data. The Space Application Hackathon was focused on four main categories: Earth Observation, Navigation/GNSS, SpaceTech and Blockchain in Space. Each category was sponsored by a selected partner or partners (Earth Observation – SpaceKnow, Navigation – GSA and GNSS Centre of Excellence, SpaceTech – Fujitsu, Blockchain in Space – IBM). In the end, eleven competing teams were put together. The Earth Observation, Navigation and Blockchain in Space categories were each represented equally by three teams. SpaceTech was represented by two teams.

There were about 30 mentors on hand to help the competitors with technical and business development of their ideas. At the beginning of the hackathon, category guarantors helped the competitors to tackle technology and challenges through training workshops. SpaceKnow trained participants in machine/deep learning for analysis of satellite data. GSA and GNSS CE presented GNSS opportunities in the mass market, the main principles of GNSS navigation and timing, Galileo differentiators and challenges focused on navigation. IBM instructed participants on how to build and deploy their own network to the IBM Blockchain service. During the hackathon participants could exercise with Twiner.

On Saturday, the competing teams pitched their projects in English to a nine-member jury. The projects included, for example, a system for protecting animals against poachers, monitoring of people’s movements in hospitals, a system of timely warning against high waves, monitoring of the extent of coastal pollution and inspection of the use of agricultural subsidies.

The nine-member jury, from right: Jacopo Ovarelli (GSA), Tomáš Ridoška (S.A.B. Aerospace), Petr Kapoun (S.A.B. Aerospace), Vojtěch Rajtr (CzechInvest), Karel Dobeš (Government Commissioner for Galileo), Jan Zikeš (SpaceKnow), Tomáš Duša (GNSS CE), Daniel Štefl (Space System Czech) and Antonio Nasuto (IBM)

Winning Projects

Overall winner of the hackathon

The jury selected “Space Data Blockchain Ecosystem” by Student Dreamers as the most sophisticated and the most viable project. This team was composed of four students: David Žahour (the Secondary Vocational School in Plzeň), Viktor-Adam Koropecky (Gymnázium Jiřího Ortena in Kutná Hora), Jakub Kubík (Czech Technical University in Prague) and Roman Fasakhov (Brno University of Technology).

Space Data Blockchain Ecosystem serves as a platform where universities can share their collected and processed data from their CubeSats (and in the future possibly even other sources) to the blockchain, which ensures that the data is traceable, trustworthy and public. The blockchain also ensures that the database is decentralized, so there will never be any disputes about who will own and manage the database servers. In addition to that, the platform will provide access to crowd computing, which has recently been gaining more and more popularity and will allow for more complicated data analysis. Then, thanks to the model of a new blockchain technology, the hyperledger, it will be possible to sell data and computing power for commercial purposes and provide a source of revenue to the participating universities.

Student Dreamers also won in the Blockchain in Space category. Therefore, their overall financial prize was CZK 70,000 (CZK 50,000 grand prize for their overall win and CZK 20,000 for winning in Blockchain in Space category). Besides that, they won a trip to the astronaut training centre in Cologne and an opportunity to have a close look at the Fujitsu plant in Augsburg, which will happen on 12-13 December 2018. They also had the possibility to present their idea and meet interesting people from the areas of business, space technology and politics at the End of Year Conference organised by ESA BIC Prague.

Winner of the Earth Observation Category

In Earth Observation Category won the team called AgroChainStars which has three members: Jan Hynek, Jan Červenka and Tomáš Kapler. Their project was about the efficient crop production at multinational level using AI based on data from ESA satellites and blockchain. Also, they described a possibility of controlling the use of subsidies by farmers. AgroChainStars won lunch with SpaceKnow research team and a possibility of an internship, book about Deep Learning and some goodies.

Winner of the Navigation/GNSS Category

In GNSS Category won the team called SpaceFIT composed of five students of Faculty of Information Technology at Czech Technical University in Prague: Maksym Balatsko, Marián Hlaváč, Lukáš Brchl, Yevhen Kuzmovych a Adam Čtverák. Their project „Dronetag“ is an IoT device providing realtime drone identification and flight data sharing. Dronetag makes drones smarter, connected and safe for airspace access. Using Dronetag modular sensors you can collect various flight data, which you can share in real time on our unique cloud-based platform. Besides the other prizes, they won an excursion to the IATCC International Air Traffic Control Centre & to the Czech Aviation Training Centre and a possibility to present their idea at GSA Open Days 2018. „Presenting at GSA Open Days was an amazing opportunity to show Dronetag to the public in terms of customer development. We discussed our product along with the business plan with our potential customers as well as the Director of GSA, Carlo des Dorides. It was essential for us to receive feedback from the people. Really a great event!„, says Adam Čtverák, member of the team SpaceFIT.

Winner of the SpaceTech Category

This category was won by the team called WEEM, which presented a solution for protecting wildlife from poachers and searching for missing people in large areas, such as national parks, by using a fleet of autonomous drones and machine learning. Drones can cover a larger area in a given amount of time and at a lower cost compared to human staff. The system can then notify human operators when necessary. The collected data about animals can be used for research. WEEM had four team members: Martyna Tomaszewska (user experience designer), Matúš Žilinec (student and researcher at FIT CVUT), Ondřej Sívek (business and data analysis) and Štěpán Klokočka (front end development and programming).

This team won a unique prize presented by S.A.B. Aerospace. Team members will get a chance to be present at the assembly of the upper part of a Vega rocket, which will be in Brno in the laboratories of S.A.B. Aerospace built at the beginning of 2019.

Winner of Blockchain in Space Category

The Blockchain in Space category was won by the Student Dreamers team with their project “Space Data Blockchain Ecosystem”. They were also the overall winners of the hackathon.

Other Projects

Team: Dancing Plasma

Their idea was to introduce a way of certifying of drones in Czech Republic (or in the EU) and to research and develop the autonomy of drones. They would like to build a place where drones might be tested and classified in categories. That might simplify the process of including drones in everyday life (e.g. delivery, firefighters, research of dangerous places).

Team: Relativistic Walnuts

Their project consisted in satellite imagery analysis and the goal was to provide an analysis of any neighbourhood’s potential in improvement of the quality of life. Why?

Migration of climate refugees is just getting started and will be of concern to hundreds of millions of people. To let cooler cities find solutions to adapt themselves and be able to welcome those people, they provide a solution to buy some time by acting where it is the most efficient. How?

It’s easy to calculate the albedo of cities and neighbourhoods with colour analysis of images, for example. By doing this in crowded and very hot cities, they can let the city’s administration know which neighbourhoods have the biggest potential to lower temperatures by painting roads white or replacing an unused parking lot with a green area, for example.

Team: Solary

Project called “Beach Finder” is a mobile application that finds a perfect beach with one single click. Using satellite data and OpenStreetMap, we are able to find the nearest beaches that fit the criteria. These criteria (or tags/labels) may be, for example, ‘great for surfing’, ‘restaurant nearby’, ‘hotel beach’, ‘‚calm’, ‘family friendly’ and more. The ultimate goal is to extend this service to all kinds of leisure activities, e.g. ski resorts, golf resorts and amusement parks. Team Solary has three members: Ondřej Pohl (Embedded Software Developer, BTL Medical Technologies CZ a.s.), Jan Málek (Android Developer) and Jan Macura (student at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UWB).

What next?

The Space Application Hackathon was organised by the Investment and Business Development Agency CzechInvest as the first event of Czech Space Week. The main partner of this hackathon was IBM. Would you like to join to other hackathons organised by CzechInvest? No problem! In February at IBM Prague we are going to organise the Innovative Blockchain Hackathon, which will be focused on blockchain technology, and in March there will be the Copernicus Hackathon focused on Earth Observation. So stay tuned! More information coming soon. 😉