An App to help people with allergies

Octavio Gianatiempo, a CONICET research fellow, is one of the members of the winning team awarded by NASA for their proposal to develop an app capable of tracing the routes of lowest exposure to pollen.

An App to help people with allergies

An App to help people with allergies

As warm weather is back in the streets of Buenos Aires, blooming platanus spread their pollen and volatile particles, which are capable of triggering a response in people suffering from allergy.

Argentinian Octavio Gianatiempo, fellow for CONICET at the School of Exact and Natural Sciences (FCEyN) of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA); Franco Bellomo, student of Atmosphere Sciences at such School; Carlos Augusto Frias, journalist; and Cezar Henrique Azevedo de Faveri, student of Computing Sciences at the FCEyN of the UBA, together form part of the Lemon Py team, which won the Best Data Use award introduced by the NASA Space Apps Challenge 2017.

“We got to know each other at the contest, I told the guys about the existing city trees data set and this motivated us to wonder how this information could be supplemented by the data proceeding from the NASA in order to create something useful for citizens. Franco, who had been reading about satellite images, told us about the calculation of the Normalized Difference in the Vegetation Index (NDVI) and, as from that moment, new ideas came out and each of us made a contribution in line with their knowledge field”, said Gianatiempo.

Lemon Py proposed the development of a tool that, as from satellite data, could be used to identify blooming periods of platanus and thus determine volatile particles and pollen spreading patterns in order to help design ‘safe routes’ for people suffering from allergy.

The idea was proposed during the Hackathon organized by Nasa Space Apps Challenge, which took place on April 29 to 30 this year at the Argentine University of San Martin, Miguelete Campus. During 48 hours, 13 teams competed in Buenos Aires to propose the best ideas and respond to 25 challenges posed by the space agency of the United States of America.

“The idea we begun with was then modified as we were developing it. This is what is valuable about having different careers:  there are multiple viewpoints addressing one single problem. The short time period granted was an extra challenge. In my case, I had to interpret a huge amount of information and act as the nexus between the team and the event mentors”, added Frias.

“Almost 10% of the trees of Buenos Aires are of Platanus type. These exotic trees produce a large amount of pollen which may cause allergy. Our app shows the time-space distribution of the allergen and shows the route to reach their destination minimizing their exposure to pollen”, stated the team members during the presentation

“Along the contest we had to learn a lot about trees and also about images within a very short period of time, and I believe that the main challenge was to interpret the metadata included in images, as well as coordinates’ projections. Finally, we had to summarize all we have done in a brief presentation, which was also tough enough but, working as a team, we have been able to make it”, said Gianatiempo.

In accordance with the Nasa Space Apps Challenge Lemon Py announcement, together with other four winning teams for the categories of Best Use of HW, Best Concept of Mission, Galactic Impact, Most Inspirational and Public’s Election, from the cities of Ivanovo, Russia; Taipei, Taiwan, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Malesia y Limassol, Cyprus, will be invited by the NASA to attend an airship launching.

Octavio Gianatiempo is a fellow for CONICET at the Biological Chemistry department of the School of Exact and Natural Sciences of the UBA. Under the directions of Eduardo Canepa, main CONICET researcher, he studies alterations in epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of the early-life expression of gene transcription and its role in the cognitive deficits deriving from perinatal nutritional stress.

National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET)
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An App to help people with allergies

An App to help people with allergies

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