An Astronomical Amount Of Fun
Given the problem statement to identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long-duration space exploration within our Sun’s solar system, our team has developed a simple, yet innovative solution to combat both physical and social stress.
Our SOLUTION :
VRSPACEFIT: WHERE FORTNITE MEETS FITBIT
We have designed and developed a Virtual Reality powered Fitness app (Android). Our design model was to combine the fun element of Fortnite (popular game) with the fitness addiction that Fitbit brings in. Our intent is to plug-in 360-degree videos of trails for Hike/Bike/Run so the astronauts can enjoy their workout while appreciating their favorite locales back home. This will make exercising inviting and not feel like a chore. We have also introduced a Leaderboard, to add a touch to gamification that will improve their social camaraderie with those in the space station.
We started our journey by watching movies like Marian and several ISS videos (subscribed to Chris Hadfield) and our minds were exploding with the fascinating world of astronauts. We read on several Astrophysics concepts, including coming to terms with what zero gravity truly means.
We read up on the different exercise options that the astronauts currently have
We also read up extensively on the “Earth out of view syndrome” and that lead us to incorporate 360 videos that could mitigate any social stress for astronauts on the mission. Furthermore, it could also make exercising more inviting, and something to look forward to, a glimpse of earth and their favorite trails.
Our path to DEVELOPING the solution :
We met with a freelance UI designer, a friend of one of the parents, and understood the key aspects of a good UI design that looks clean and is easy to implement.
We relied heavily on school teacher and parents to teach us the ropes of coding, and that also defined the platform we chose. Android Development studio is very user-friendly, easy to use, and extremely resourceful. We also used the Android Emulator for our testing purposes, because it’s extremely easy to create virtual devices of different types of Android devices, using the emulator
Our COST factor :
All through the design and development phase, our intent was simple “keep the cost low”. So, we used open-source tools.
We used tools as Figma for UI design, Android Studio for development Android studio-based emulator for testing. All of which are open source and free.
The only true cost was the VR headset.
For a true-world implementation of our solution, the cost would be programming labor, make our app scalable, and the cost of making it compatible with ISS exercise machines
Our path to Knowledge Sharing :
Firstly, our team educated themselves on basic concepts of Astrophysics. They watched several movies (Martian, Apollo 13) and YouTube videos (Chris Hadfield's channel) and read about the "Out of Earth" syndrome.
We then discussed our project proposal with Dr. Srinivas Murthy, Sr Director of Indian Space Research Organization and Mr. Phil Wysocki (Sr Systems Engineer at NASA) and received several insights into how best our app could be used.
Our biggest strength, our friends and peers. At different stages of our app, we presented our work in our school STEM clubs and received great encouragement and feedback from both our teachers and friends.