Filipino students to join NASA’s annual global hackathon

Two teams with innovative solutions



Pressing problems in the world require innovative solutions, like ocean waste and the spread of dengue. These two problems are the focus of two teams from De La Salle University – Manila who just won the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge is a yearly hackathon where teams use NASA’s free and open data to address problems on Earth and in space. This year, two separate teams from La Salle won the challenge. They would also join the global hackathon awards where NASA would select the winners in January.

Project PaWiKAN by Ocean’s 4

The first of the two teams focused on the problem of ocean waste. Ocean waste remains the biggest threat to marine wildlife and to humans with more plastics ending up in the ocean every year. Thus, a team composed of Lasallian engineering students conceived Project PaWiKAN.

Project PaWiKAN uses NASA’s Ocean Surface Current Analysis Real-time (OSCAR) data to determine ocean waste patch locations. Then, it deploys dynamically reconfigurable boats capable of trapping and returning ocean waste back to land. The boats have different sensors for communication, and controlled through deployment stations.

The team behind the project, Ocean’s 4, also joined the challenge last year. They created a hyper-casual puzzle game utilizing images from the Hubble Space Telescope and intuitive physics concepts.

AEDES Project

The other winner for the challenge takes its name from the Aedes variety of mosquito, which is responsible for spreading dengue and malaria worldwide. In the Philippines, dengue is responsible for the deaths of many children every year.

A group of Lasallian students developed a forecast model of dengue cases using climate and digital data. This model can also pinpoint possible hot spots from satellite data. Along with other data from NASA and government agencies, potential dengue hot spots and mosquito breeding grounds is shown in a web interface accessible to everyone. This is handy for public health practitioners who can use the data to identify dengue outbreaks and plan according to it.

Global hackathon

Both winners will join teams around the world. NASA will evaluate and select top 30 projects as global finalists in December. They will announc the top six winners in January 2020. Winners will get a chance to visit NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Florida in 2020.

This is not the first time that a Filipino team won the NASA challenge. Last 2018, team iNON developed an application that communicate scientific data to fishermen even without internet. Their app — aptly named the ISDApp — made their team the first Filipino global winner for the challenge.

Participants of the 2019 NASA International Space Apps Challenge

This year’s Space Apps 2019 included over 29,000 participants at more than 230 events in 80 countries. The Philippine leg of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge happened last October 18-20 in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Animo Labs, PLDT, American Corner Manila, and the US government.

SEE ALSO: 17-year-old Filipino student creates a working life-size BB-8 from household materials


Spotify launches Premium Duo plan for couples

Premium Duo starts at US$ 12.99



Spotify offers multiple plans for its premium music streaming service. For a long time, the company offers a premium plan designed for one person. In recent years, it also started offering a family plan for up to 4 family members. Now, the company is expanding its portfolio once again by offering a plan for couples.

The new Premium Duo plan is Spotify’s answer to couples who want a cheaper premium plan. As the name implies, the plan is targeted towards two people. All features of Spotify Premium is here too. Couples can enjoy ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and offline songs along with new features unique to this plan.

Spotify included a Duo Mix playlist, which is unique to this plan. It works just like the Family Mix playlist on the premium family plan. Through this playlist, couples can enjoy the best songs they listen to on repeat. The playlist updates once in a while too.

The plan starts at US$ 12.99 per month, which is US$ 6.99 less than two individual plans. Like all other premium plans, there’s a free trial so couples can try out the plan first before shelling out cash.

With the new Premium Duo, there’s no need to share a single account between two people. Couples can keep listening to their own music, and it won’t affect each other’s accounts.

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Upcoming Galaxy M41 will have a 6800mAh battery

Battery officially certified



Earlier this year, Samsung launched the Galaxy M31, a capable midrange phone sporting a huge 6000mAh. Naturally, the only thing to do with a sizable battery is to test it to the breaking point. In our hands, the smartphone lasts an impressive 28 hours with some change to spare. With such a fierce device, what else can Samsung do in the battery department?

Apparently, quite a bit. Spotted recently on a battery certification site by Rootmygalaxy, Samsung is already working on a sequel to this device, what is presumably the Galaxy M41. If the filing comes to fruition, the next device will come with an even larger 6800mAh battery.

The filing was issued on June 28, only a few days ago. It also comes with a photo of the Li-ion battery. Though bigger in power, the battery doesn’t seem to cause the phone itself to bloat in size. Of course, a photo of the battery is nothing without the actual device. No one but Samsung knows how the device will ultimately look at this point.

Image source: Rootmygalaxy

Another thing to note is the naming of the next device. Previous rumors have speculated that the company has ditched the M41, heading straight to the M51 instead. Either way, the device almost certainly belongs to the battery-centered series.

Though it is already in the works, the sequel might take a while before it comes out to the public.

The current generation, the Galaxy M31, is already available today in Black and Blue. It’s an online exclusive, retailing for PhP 13,990 (US$ 283).

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 rumor roundup: Snapdragon 865+, 120Hz, new S Pen

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 coming on August 5, leak says

Earlier than last year



Recently, we compiled all the leaks, rumors, and confirmed details of the upcoming Galaxy Note 20 series. Without a doubt, Samsung plans to go big with the latest release after a sour patch from the pandemic era. However, despite all the glitz that we already know, we don’t know when the next series is exactly launching.

Based on a previous report, the company is set to launch three new devices between August and October, with a different device launching each month. The same reports claims that the Galaxy Note 20 will launch in August, just as it does every year. However, without an official confirmation or invitation from the company, it’s all guesswork based on a rough timeline.

Thankfully, one of the most reliable sources for the upcoming series has just come in with a new update. According to a new tweet from renowned Samsung leaker Ice Universe, the next Galaxy series is coming on August 5, just a tad bit earlier than last year’s Galaxy Note 10 series.

Now, the leaker doesn’t explicitly state the Galaxy Note 20 series by name. However, given the amount of details that are out already, it’s almost definitely the Galaxy Note 20.

Without a doubt, Samsung is launching the Galaxy Note 20 series hard and fast. The premium smartphone series is expected to launch with two variants: a regular Note 20 and a Note 20 Ultra (or Note 20+, depending on who you ask).

The countdown is on. One more month, ladies and gentlemen!

SEE ALSO: Samsung accidentally leaked Galaxy Note 20 Ultra images

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