Company Updates

Akvelon Employees Win Award in NASA’s Space Apps Challenge

2017 NASA Space Apps Challenge Akvelon

For the past six years, NASA has organized a worldwide 48 hour ‘hackathon’ to encourage everyone enthusiastic about space to come together to solve specific problems we face in space, and here on Earth. During the last weekend of April, over 25,000 participants, in 187 locations, in 69 countries participated in the 2017 Space Apps Challenge.


Among the five winning teams that were chosen, the HALA team received the award for Best Use of Hardware. Three members of the all-star winning HALA team are also Akvelon employees from our Ivanovo office; Dmitrii Smirnov, Danila Shutov, and Ipatov Maxim.

“The purpose of our work on this hackathon was to create an adaptation for demonstrating the Earth’s statistical data by a holographic method in 3D,” explained HALA team lead and Akvelon employee, Dmitrii Smirnov, on their Space Apps project page.

The project was developed and assembled by the team in the two days of the Space Apps Challenge, it displays collected weather data from anywhere in the world via satellites, meteorological stations, and space observing centers. Then, the collected data is analyzed, processed, and broadcast to the holographic model of the Earth in different colored areas based on air temperature in specific locations. The HALA team used open-source data from NASA to visualize sets of information, and the Hologram can be updated in real time whenever the NASA data changes. Controlling the device is simple with an accompanying mobile application, which is a Single Pack Authorization with a dynamic layout for a mobile device.

A special feature of the development is the fact that the operation of the device does not end with simply displaying weather. It can be used for demonstrations of all kinds of holographic data, as well as various kinds of animations and static objects. For example, you can create a rotating company logo or a dancing animated little man who will change his color depending on the humidity level in the room.

Speaking about the technical component of the project, the principle is based on projecting the side of the object into the plane. To do this, the team used an iPad with the software they developed, a pyramid of plexiglass with facets at 45 degrees, and a body to enclose the device. At the heart of the software are the Node.js,, and Three.js stack, which helps compose the object into four planes and display them on the iPad screen. The pyramid above the iPad screen reflects the planes and the object is assembled into a hologram.

See the holographic presentation in the video below or in person at CloudExpo.

Click here to see the HALA team repository of code on GitHub.