In the middle of October, AUTH Medical Physics Laboratory research associates Giorgos Ntakakis and Christina Plomariti, with the cooperation of Medical Informatics Postgraduate Student Dimitris Fotopoulos, had a successful presence at NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge 2018, generating a Virtual Reality environment to simulate the Apollo X mission.

More specifically, Space Apps is an international hackathon that occurs over 48 hours in cities around the world, including Thessaloniki, Greece. In the framework of this international event, coders, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, technologists, and everyone enthusiastic about curiosity come together to address challenges we face on Earth and in space! In last year’s hackathon more than 25,000 people participated in over 187 events, which held across six continents.

This year, our Lab was represented by research staff members and postgraduate students, the team of Apollo X, which received a distinction for the innovative and interactive simulation of the Apollo 11 and it automatically qualified for the finals of the international competition.

For the implementation of their project, the Apollo X team used the Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality tool, since it offers a high-level of interaction between the user and the holograms. According to the description provided by its developers, the experience consists of three scenes. In the first scene, the launching of the Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center is visualized. Following, the user can see the moon landing of the Eagle lunar module. Finally, on the last and most interactive scene the user is portraying Neil Armstrong and he can move around the Apollo 11 landing site and collect rocks like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did during their visit. The user can also place the American flag on the moon and get information about the scientific equipment they carried with them, as well as for the memorabilia they left behind.

The ApolloX project team members aspire their app to be used as an educational tool in order to teach and inspire future generations. It is noted that the Apollo X project developed in the competitions’ challenge to help the public to be aware of the modern era cultural heritage sites, which they couldn’t meet otherwise.

Associate Professor of Medical Education Informatics Panagiotis Bamidis welcomed Lab’s students at his office, personally expressing his warmest congratulations for this great distinction and wishing them this would be just the beginning of a great and very successful journey.

You can watch the full video of Apollo X, here.