The Pothikrit project funded by the IAU OAD is developing an interactive astronomy app aimed at students in Bangladesh.
The Pothikrit project is developing an interactive astronomy app to popularize astronomy and science education among the young generation in Bangladesh and around the world. It aims to increase awareness of astronomy and reduce the knowledge gap between high-income and low-income communities. Students will also learn about pressing challenges such as climate change through the lens of astronomy. By learning about our common humanity, the developers hope that users might experience increased empathy.
The app uses interactive, anthropomorphized characters based on astronomical objects such as planets. Users will be able to chat with these characters and learn about them. They will also become aware of crises on Earth such as the scarcity of clean water, light pollution, and climate change.
The team have previously won a competition organized by Facebook, Bangladesh ICT Division, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their ‘innovative idea of using online gaming and superhero theme for stopping fake news‘. For Pothikrit, they have completed concept clearance, UI / UX design, and character design, and are in the process of back-end programming and chatbot training. The app will be published in Bangla and English and will include voice chat to be more inclusive. To cater to those without smartphones, the team plans to release a PC version of the app.
The app will be released with a CC‑BY‑SA‑4.0 license and the app’s source code with GPL v2 so that others may further improve the app.