NASA crowdsources a smartwatch for space; offers $1,500 to winning design

By MoneyTimes

Aug 19, 2015 08:38 AM EDT

For $1,500, NASA is challenging programmers and UI designers to create a smartwatch app interface intended to be used by astronauts at the International Space Station. The contest will end on September 9.

"We (NASA) are interested in the emerging world of smartwatch technology and are looking to leverage this technology to create a smartwatch app that could be helpful to astronauts. The challenge is to design the general user interface for smartwatch applications for use on the International Space Station," NASA Tournament Lab posted on Freelancer. 

The government agency will give out $1,500 to the winning entry.

The design is for a smartwatch operating system with several features. An innovative display is highly encouraged. Most of all, it must fit the Samsung Gear screen.

Participants must rely on Samsung Gear 2 as a hardware reference in creating their designs. The entry must be in png or jpg format focusing on navigation, interface, layout and style most suitable for the astronauts.

Essentially, NASA is expecting to see designs that will showcase the following features: Crew Timeline- displays an outline view of the timeline, including a method to navigate the past, present and future date which can also be viewed on iPads and laptops; Caution & Warnings-alerts via color-coded notifications; Timers- sets time for the current or the next activity; and lastly, Communication Status- displays the current status of communication from the vehicle to the ground.

Reported on the Sentinel Republic, astronauts wear the manual wristwatch Omega Speedmaster in the International Space Station. Though on 1994, NASA collaborates with Microsoft to create its first smartwatch; the Timex Datalink.

The Space Reporter emphasized that the competition is about the user interface design, not the development of the app.

Thus, NASA is looking for freelancers to lay out what the apps could look like and how the apps will work with the smartwatch.

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