LetMeAut takes the prize at EU space hackathon

Published: 
14 November 2018
+39 team at the 2nd EU Space Programmes Hackathon
+39 team at the 2nd EU Space Programmes Hackathon

LetMeAut, an application that leverages Galileo high accuracy to make everyday tasks easier for people with autism, was declared the winner at the 2nd EU Space Programmes Hackathon, which brought experts and developers interested in shaping the future of location-based services (LBS), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Earth Observation together in Padua, Italy on 24-26 October 2018.

The overload of sensory stimuli in the modern urban environment can make everyday experiences like walking in the park or going to school an extremely daunting task for somebody suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

There are already apps available on the market that allow people affected by ASD to visualise the tasks that they should accomplish throughout the day and tick them off as they are completed, but they do not give them the possibility of moving autonomously outside, while allowing caregivers to monitor stress and risk levels and to intervene in the event of a crisis.

Timely solution

With over 500,000 people suffering from ASD in Italy alone - a number that is on the increase, putting strain on the Italian healthcare services - the +39 team from the University of Padua saw a clear need for an app that would help make ASD sufferers more autonomous.

At the Padua hackathon, the team started to develop an app that uses precise positioning and other inputs, such as Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) and heart rate sensors, to monitor people affected by ASD as they carry out their tasks or take a journey through town. The app removes the need for constant supervision by a caregiver. However, machine learning and deep learning will enable the solution to recognise falls, panic attacks or other anomalous behaviour and alert parents or supervisors immediately, so they can take action.

Galileo precision

“Galileo is a key component of the application,” team member Cristina Gava said. “First of all there is the speed of time to first fix, which is much faster than with GPS alone. This is important, as the app needs to respond quickly. Secondly, but no less important, is the high accuracy that Galileo offers – if the app is to provide meaningful information on what actions the user should take, then it needs to know exactly what side of the street they are on, for example. Galileo provides this accuracy, especially in urban environments,” she said.

“There are two main stages involved in our work – the first is to develop and build the app, and the second main stage is to teach the subjects and caregivers how to use it,” +39 team member Matteo Stringher said, adding that feedback from users would also be taken on board when fine-tuning the solution.

To receive additional feedback from users, the team hopes to have the opportunity to cooperate with ‘Vivi la città’, an independent project working with people affected by ASD in the Italian city of Pordenone. “This will give us the opportunity to test the app with autism sufferers going about their daily tasks in real-life situations – in schools, at the bakery or in the pizzeria,” Stringher said.

European Space Week

The LetMeAut app was judged to be the winner by a board composed of senior officials from the European GNSS Agency (GSA), European Space Agency (ESA), Unismart and the University of Padua, and the +39 team will now have the opportunity to present their app at the 2018 European Space Week in Marseille, on 3-6 December 2018.

Until then, the team is continuing to work on the app, collecting feedback from parents, doctors, psychologists and autism associations. They will use this information to fine-tune their solution and prepare a working mock-up to present in Marseille.

The Padua Hackathon winners will not be the only ones to receive prizes in Marseille, the event will also see the winners of the Act in Space Hackathon receive their award. All in all, European Space Week will be an excellent opportunity for young talents to showcase their developments, exposing them to potential investors and acting as a springboard to business development opportunities, bridging the gap between ideas and working solutions that people can use.

To register to attend European Space Week, click here.

Space for your App

At the 2nd EU Space Programmes Hackathon, engineers, geologists, economists and sociologists joined with app developers, coders, graphic and web designers, data scientists and marketers to develop ideas that tackle societal challenges, and to discover how space technologies can help transform these ideas into reality.

The assembled hackers focused in particular on applications dealing with smart mobility, augmented reality, geo-marketing, and mapping and GIS. Also targeted were fitness, sport and mHealth, business applications and social networking. The hackers had access to an API provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) that allowed easy access to Earth Observation data. They also had Galileo enabled hardware and GNSS raw measurements to play with.

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Updated: Nov 14, 2018