NASA has selected the winner of its crowdsourced astronaut app competition - B by UX designer Ignacio Calvo and mechanical engineer Jocelyn Richard. NASA's Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation asked for designs for a smartwatch app that astronauts aboard the International Space Station can use with day to day work and the winning pair bagged $1,500.
Since the contest opened in August NASA has received 237 entries via Freelancer.com showing mock-ups of how the app would work and look based on a Samsung Gear 2 as the hardware reference.
The single smartwatch app shows a crew timeline as well as cautions and warnings, communication status of vehicles and timers for ISS procedures. Astronauts currently use laptops and iPads to view timelines and warning information.
It was designed to be unobtrusive, easy to use and elegant. There are no hidden gestures, a scrolling agenda and the team constrained the app's features to the essentials that ISS crewmembers need access to.
"It's really awesome that NASA would open its design process, regardless of the outcome," said Richard. "To be honest, I'd like to keep working on the app: go past the concept stage and fully flesh it out, prototype it to research and iterate with users, driving it from a nice idea to a real, efficient tool."
It's not clear whether the winning design will be used by NASA to create a smartwatch app that's actually used in space. All we know is that NASA is exploring various forms of wearable technology, including Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality helmet.
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