NASA competition challenges freelancers to make a smartwatch app for astronauts

Freelancers will design the interface for the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

A new NASA contest is challenging freelancers to design the interface for a smartwatch app for use by astronauts aboard the ISS. The competition, posted on the Freelancer website, is set to run for one month, and will require applicants to tailor their app for operation on the Samsung Gear 2 for the chance to win a US$1,500 prize.

Ordinarily, astronauts aboard the ISS are subject to constant monitoring and prompts from ground crew informing them how best to spend their time in an environment where every minute amounts to an (forgive the pun) astronomical expense.

In order to see a return on this investment, operations must run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and the addition of a multi-purpose smartwatch app could prove to be a significant step in the modernization of the day to day running of the station.

Competition applicants are not expected to produce a functioning app, rather a design for the interface of the watch must be submitted in the form of image wireframes (PNG or JPEG) that draw attention to the design's layout, look, and feel.

The successful App design should be easy to navigate, while performing a number of functions. The interface must include a crew timeline function allowing ISS personnel to keep on top of a hectic schedule, a caution and warning application, a function to inform the astronaut whether voice communication with mission control is possible, and a timer feature. Furthermore, over the course of the day the App must be capable of prompting a crewmember with information relevant to the task at hand.

According to the contest brief, all of the functions must fit within a single application while remaining legible on the relatively small smartwatch screen.

Source: Freelancer

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