By Emeka Aginam
By the time the 2017 International Space Apps Challenge Lagos Hackathon that brought together developers, engineers, scientists, educators, students of thought-leaders, and government, among others, ended recently in Lagos,there were convincing signals that the event had empowered the participants with new knowledge and tools needed to face the 21st century challenge.
Apart from the fact that the challenge has helped the Nigerian innovators to begin to contribute to the global innovation ecosystem, it also afforded them the opportunity to share knowledge and solve tough challenges concerning the future of our local space and technology sector.
The hackathon which was held simultaneously in about 192 cities all over the world was a unique platform that connected Nigeria and Africa, in a new way, to the most cutting-edge technologies and economic drivers of tomorrow.
The Space Apps Lagos winners and outcomes will become part of accelerator initiatives in the coming year, to ensure that the ideas are well evolved towards future commercialization opportunities, and the young participants are empowered to build a new future for our continent.
During the capacity building event which had cutting-edge tools such, MakerBot 3D-Printers from IVENConsult, the West African partners of Stratasys, as well as headsets from Nigeria’s first virtual reality solutions provider, no fewer than ten teams made up of five members each, had contested.
The participating teams each chose a NASA Space challenge to solve, competing over three days, to finally showcase their solution to a bevy of judges, after which three teams were selected for global judging at NASA.
Later this year, the winning teams, if selected, are expected to join other talented tech wizkids in Florida, the United States of America, to view a Space X Rocket launch.
Speaking during the event, Stephen Ozoigbo, of African Technology Foundation, said that, “Africa’s economic growth is firmly rooted in its ability to accelerate new innovation and collaborative platforms that build their capacity to participate on the global stage. ATF is invested in fostering these platforms.”
Speaking to Technology Journalists with excitement shortly after the challenge, Oluseye Soyode-Johnson, an Innovation and Business Development expert at the Ericsson Nigeria, who is also the promoter of the event said that Nigeria’s space ecosystem, was mature enough for global participation.
According to him, “We need to have a new way of thinking towards space innovation using bottom-up innovation. This means bringing together talent, space organizations and the tech ecosystem itself, to foster community-led innovation around new technologies.