On the 9th May 2013, MISTRA had the pleasure of engaging with five young South African software entrepreneurs who have made it to the final 133 apps out of almost 800 apps submitted to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space App Challenge competition. This competition was entered by 9000 people from 83 cities in 44 countries.
Thami Zulu (Designer), Melvin Musehani (mobile apps developer), Klaas Kabini (mobile developer), Klaas Kabini (mobile developer) and Stephen Kobue (Software Engineer) worked together in creating an app (short for application) called Cosmic Hub, which is implemented into the new Blackberry Z10 phone. This app was designed to share visuals of near earth objects (NEOs) and also provide the simulation of our solar system. A user is able to have a cosmic view of the distance of the planets in relation to the sun. The Cosmic Hub crowd sources the discovery and confirmation of NEOs (such as comets and asteroids) by allowing people to comment, confirm and share the sightings on their favourite social networks.
What inspired these youths into creating the Cosmic Hub app was to improve the public’s understanding of science and space exploration. By providing a user friendly app, a visual element was added to help decode some of the science jargon which only a few can understand. This group of young entrepreneurs is led by Mr Nicol Shingange of Ntokoto Holdings, who is their project manager. Mr Shinagage, who has experience in IT, Business Management and Engineering provides support and business advice to these youths.
Apart from creating their very successful Cosmic Hub application, these young moguls in the making have found innovative solutions to other problems. They have created various other apps that present information in an easier and more technologically save way.
Klaas Kabini identified a need for students, who are about to embark on tertiary education, to have access to information that will help them make the right career choice. This need gave birth to the app known as CareerPedia. The CareerPedia app has a search function, where students can search for a profession in which they are interested in. After the student has found what they are interested in, they are able to get more information about that particular profession. What makes this app special is that it not only provides career guidance, it also connects students with industry professionals and experts who can offer them further advice on that particular career choice.
Modi online is an app that was created to help patients and doctors, have immediate online access to medical records. But because of the regulations surrounding the e-health policy, the app has been temporarily put on hold.
Student Registry is an app which is designed to help companies and also students have access to a system which is able to validate academic institutions and also academic courses. This app is linked with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) database and carries much credibility.
MISTRA plans to engage more intensely with these entrepreneurs under the MISTRA youth network (MISTRAy). It is MISTRA’s goal to assist them, where possible, in expanding their audience base beyond their niche. Also, MISTRA looks to collaborate with them in raising awareness and interest in science and technology amongst the youth and South African public in general.