Choosing the dictionary of earth challenge, we decided to develop a solution in order to provide better understanding of scientific and technical terms.
Normally, if you are confronted with an unknown term you would probably go for google, maybe read an article on Wikipedia, and you would thereby try to master associated formulas. If you are lucky, there are images provided that will help you learn. Nevertheless, sometimes this still isn't enough to understand the term you have been looking for.
Therefore we wanted to find a way beyond texts and images to explain scientific and technical terms. Moreover, we were aiming to provide a solution that would also be suitable for children, as we believe that having the possibility to experience science and technology at an early stage in your life, and without relation to school or homework, will help spark future interests and motivate younger generations to immerse themselves further into the field of science.
Hence, the next hurdle we tackled was to find a fun and stress-free way to get children interested in scientific expressions and problems without boring or scaring them away by using difficult explanations or complex formulas . We realized that children are able to memorize hundreds of fictional names and terms in the area of gaming, letting them recall information without any problems, even though they never even felt like learning in the first place. Therefore, we figured that the best way to solve our problem would be in the range of a game as well, and by letting children and adults alike experience vocabulary and science in a fun and playful way, rather than forcing them to sit down and learn.
From this it follows that our unified language to communicate scientific and technical expressions and words would be in the context of gaming. Understanding terms is not learning them by heart, but rather an experience where fun and learning is merged.
Therefore our solution is to get rid of difficult terms and explanations by making science an experience. Be part of an awesome adventure while getting to know the concepts and laws of physics and technology.
We want to provide a game in the form of an App for Android and iOS, combining three major components: Story, Mini-Games and Achievements.
The Story mode will follow the saga of Nekonaut and his best friend Astroinu, who is consumed by an ominous fog during his space mission and suddenly disappears. Help Nekonaut on his epic adventure to rescue his beloved friend.
While playing the story you will come across several Mini-Games (for example building an electron gun, or using electrostatic/gravitational interaction to help solve problems), that will let you understand as well as experience scientific and technical terms in combination with their meaning and effect in real life. Replay Mini-Games at any time, maybe while waiting for the bus, or while being on the train.
Lastly a major component of the app is achievements, a glossary alike collection of terms and knowledge you have gathered so far.
Besides if you unlock them all maybe an awesome surprise is awaiting you! :)
By far the most difficult challenge we have been facing is to design a game that is fun to play and physically/technically accurate.
Thus we are really putting a lot of thoughts and effort in our game design and story to make it as plausible and physically correct as possible.
Desiree Steininger (Physicist)
Sarah Steininger (Programmer)
Wolfram Alpha API
Xcode: iOS, Objective C
Android Studio: Android, Java
Art and Music:
Garageband: Sound and Music
Photoshop: Graphics and Animations
All graphics and music used in the video have been created by the team.
SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.