apps stories

NASA has been collecting data about the Earth, the solar system, and beyond for over half a century, but it's not always easy to see how all of this data is making our world a better place on the level of people like you and me. The Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA and Innovation Endeavors (an investment firm headed by Google's Eric Schmidt), asked international teams to submit ideas for apps offering solutions to global problems. There were four types of challenges that teams could work on, including software, open hardware, citizen science, and data visualization. Within these broad categories were specific goals: for example, creating an open-source 3D printing platform that works in space or redesigning the Voyager Golden Record for 2012. Thousands of people and organizations ultimately participated in the challenge (which gave them just one single weekend to come up with a demo or pitch), and the results are in. Before you say "ugh, I don't care about apps," take a look at these short videos highlighting the winners, because we're pretty sure you'll want to care about these.
As Facebook Inc. prepares for its initial public offering in a few weeks, it has just announced plans for its own App Center. The center will allow the online service with over 900 million members to generate new forms of revenue and add an additional social dimension to the popular online platform.
If you've played Draw Something on your Android or Apple product, then you know it isn't very easy to create a great picture. My Yoda's and Terminators robots and Zelda's are passable, but nothing like these works of art. Check 'em out below and install the app for free to see how you stack up against these Draw Something prodigies.
Editor's Note: Troy Dreier told me about this iOS game he was hooked on, and the rather weird character who seemed to be at the center of it all: "GiantDong." It's interesting to think about the people behind the games we play. In World of Warcraft, say, players might get to know one another a little more, but in the mobile space such connections are fleeting, and yet here was a public, constant figure, greatly changing the shape of the game. Troy reached out to Dong, and this is what we found out. They call him GiantDong, and the Architects fear him. He is one of the master strategists of Shadow Cities, an addictive MMORPG for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In a game where many players seem to be focused only on the immediate mission at hand, GiantDong plots far-sighted strategies that ensure the Animators (the green team) triumph over the Architects (the orange team) every time. A streak of campaign victories for his New Jersey battle group stretching back months speaks of his success. Read on to meet a player who not only helped define the fun for a whole group of players, but who contributed to changing the very rules of the game.
An app is being developed for the deaf community to translate sign language into text. The plan is for this software to be available on smartphones and tablets, allowing for instant, on-the-go translation.