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NASA wants you to build a smartwatch app fit for space

Smartwatches may not be on everyone’s wrists here on Earth, but they could soon be very popular out in space – with your help.

NASA has launched open competition for members of the public to create a smartwatch app that will prove useful for astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS).

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“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,” reads the contest page. “The challenge is to design the general user interface for smart watch applications for use on the International Space Station.”

The app should use the Samsung Gear 2 as a hardware reference and needs to come with certain key features. It must have a crew timeline function, displaying an easily navigable agenda for that day, as well as colour coded warning indicators. It should also tell astronauts whether their communication systems with Earth are functioning and it also needs to come with a timer.

The functions may seem simple enough, but app developers need to ensure that their creations are easily legible on the smaller screen and help to improve efficiency on board the station. Contest entrants must also remember to create a single app with multiple functions, rather than four separate apps. The winner will receive a $1,500 prize and, of course, the prestige of having their app used by NASA astronauts.

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Currently, many of the features being requested can only be accessed via a tablet or laptop, which is not as practical as a smartwatch in certain situations. Contestants do not have to actually make the app, however, they simply have to submit image files of the user interface. If you want a chance to be part of NASA and smartwatch history, you can enter the competition here.