South Asian Toronto Siblings become Global Winners of 2020 NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Global Challenge


This week our project “The Masked Scales” was declared one of the six Global Winners of the 2020 NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Global Challenge from 1422 projects.

More than 15,000 participants joined together to form over 2,000 teams for the COVID-19 Global Challenge. The Global Winners will be invited to visit a NASA Rocket Launch site to view a spacecraft launch, once travel is deemed safe.
The NASA International SpaceApps Challenge is an international collaboration between NASA, Canadian Space Agency, ESA, JAXA, CSA, and CNES focused on solving global challenges. The   NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Global Challenge was held on May 30-31, 2020.
The Masked Scales converts the impact of COVID19 observed in Toronto using data from homemade instruments built by us, and NASA satellite data into a Lockdown Musical.
We used sensors, and cameras to measure changes in Street Noise, Vehicular Traffic, Emissions, and Light Intensity during COVID19 lockdown in Toronto. We used Machine Learning (to count vehicles on the road) and Python to assess changes happening during and after the COVID19 lockdown.
We converted our Analysis into a musical using 4 musical instruments (each representing a change in different variables): Marimba (Light), Vibraphone (Emission), Piano (Street Noise), Flute (COVID19 Infection Cases in Toronto). The tempo of Music was determined by changes in City Night Lights (using NASA VIIRS Data) and Vehicular traffic count before and after the lockdown.
We are siblings Artash (14 years) and Arushi (10 years). We both love space, robotics, and music. Together we have been participating in NASA SpaceApps Challenge since 2014. This was the first time we ended up becoming the Global Winner.