My grandparents in North Bay are the opposite of socially isolated.
- Can’t walk down main street or go to the market without meeting people they know
- Always have invites to attend various functions
- Often neighbours and friends over for wine and crackers
- Frequent volunteers in the community
What is it that they are doing and what do they know that can help other socially isolated seniors encounter more people and create new bonds?
What it does
It is an innovative take on the traditional event calendar which allows a person to see what is happening in their community around them in a conversational way.
It’s dignified. This is not an app for lonely people, but just anyone who wants to be well informed of community events. As many would use it, it reduces the stigma and sense of shame.
It handles the problem of information fragmentation by getting event information from those who receive many invites and get activity information through the grapevine. This is especially critical in small towns where it wouldn’t occur to anyone to post on Eventbrite.
It allows for a variety of interaction modes, allowing the person to select what works best for them. Those with trouble hearing can tap. Those with trouble seeing can ask the unit. It consists of low cost highly adaptable parts and could be just the start of a suite of products for older persons
How I built it
It uses an Alexa as the main voice interface, a Raspberry Pi as proof that a $20 piece of hardware is all that is needed to run the rest of the interface, and runs various Python technologies to handle all the various interactions.
Challenges I ran into
Alexa is not as smart as I imagined. That required some creative workarounds and manually figuring out how to get Alexa to recognize I forgot a keyboard, so was coding using this tiny cell phone sized keyboard.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Alexa can control a screen and an application on that screen.