NASA's latest contest seeks smartwatch app for astronauts

NASA contests are nothing new — it has one every so often seeking different things from the public for its various efforts. The space agency has initiated a new one, this time oddly enough through the freelancing website Freelancer, where it is seeking entries related to a smartwatch app for astronauts. According to the contest's description, NASA has an interest in smartwatch technology, and is planning to use such devices to aid astronauts. Ordinary watch apps won't do, however, and so it is looking for the creations of the public. The space agency has detailed its requirements, but developers are given freedom around them.

According to the contest, NASA is seeking a smartwatch app that is designed using the Samsung Gear 2 "as a hardware reference". The app should be useful for a few of NASA's intended operations: to display the crew timeline so they can see what's on the agenda from their wrist, to show coded warning notifications and caution codes, and demonstrate communication status.

In addition, NASA wants an app that can be used as a timer that can be set to indicate when the next activity is to start. The goal for the app is efficiency — NASA wants a single app with these features, not multiple apps, and it wants the app to "direct attention to the appropriate information for a task". In addition, the data has to be easily viewable on the small smartwatch screen, and it would be a plus to have "innovative representations" of the data.

The contest has a $1,500 USD reward; you'll need to sign up for a Freelancer account to enter. The space agency says the deliverables need to be in JPEG or PNG format and highlight each component of the created app. The contest is running for the duration of four weeks, of which it is currently on day #1.