As high school juniors and seniors, college campus safety is one of our main concerns for our future in university. We wanted to create a tool that helps keep college students, especially females, safe as they commute across their college campuses, day and night. We were primarily inspired by the heavily covered Brock Turner incident at Stanford in 2015.
The name, AEGIS, is based on the name of a shield that the Greek goddess, Athena, sometimes carries. We felt that this name and our logo conveys our intention of keeping our users safe during the day and during the night.
What it does
Panic button Pressing and holding the panic button initiates a call to 911, which may be useful in situations where dialing 911 manually may be unsafe. In the Android Studio version, the panic button is also intended to notify nearby users of an emergency.
911 quick dial Our app includes a simple button to dial emergency services, separately from the panic button on the home screen.
Buddy request system Our app allows users to request "Buddies", or security escorts, to walk them across campus when they feel it is too dangerous or unsafe to do so alone.
Report an Incident Users are able to fill out an incident report form describing any suspicious activity they may have witnessed.
Friend System Users can create profiles and set other students at the same university as their friend, allowing them to track their location
How we built it
Thunkable We built a rough prototype app using Thunkable, which implements a larger amount of our intended features, sacrificing precision and customizability.
Android Studio We built a less developed, yet more thorough version of AEGIS using Android Studio.
Google Firebase We integrated Firebase Authentication into our app, allowing users to create accounts with an e-mail address and password and sign in with ease.
Google Maps Our app integrates Google Maps using the Google Maps API.
Wix We created a simple website for marketing and information using Wix. You can find the website here.
Challenges we ran into
Thunkable When using Thunkable to create a prototype, we ran into multiple challenges. For example, initially, we began by using Thunkable X which allows people to create both Android and iOS apps on the same platform. However, we soon realized that this version of Thunkable had fewer features, so we switched to an older version of the platform, Thunkable Classic Android which had more features. However, we soon realized that this version of Thunkable was outdated and was a lot more complicated to test so we switched back and completed the prototype using Thunkable X. Additionally, for three of our group members, Pixelhacks III is the first hackathon that they are attended. For our whole group, this was our first experience with App development. We also encountered various issues while using Android Studio to create an enhanced and more customized version of our app, however, through this experience we learned a lot about App development and are excited to delve deeper!
Android Studio Although Android Studio comes with much more customizability than Thunkable, it also comes with many more errors and a lot more troubleshooting. We had some issues with Gradle, as not all of the implementations were up-to-date, as well as with getting the ConstraintLayout to function properly.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The Android Studio app's Firebase integration functions as intended; although the account creation system can be improved upon, the base functionality works flawlessly.
What we learned
Throughout the journey of AEGIS development, we experimented with several entirely new technologies, as for the majority of our group, this was our very first hackathon.
Thunkable We did not have any experience with Thunkable prior to this hackathon, so learning how to implement more complex functionalities with its drag-and-drop system was a learning experience.
Android Studio We had not had any extensive experience in Android Studio prior to this hackathon, thus, learning how to integrate Firebase, create Activities and design layouts (and the benefits of using a Constraint Layout versus a Relative Layout), and debug errors with the help of a well-versed Mentor was a valuable experience for our group.
Firebase and Google Maps We learned how to roughly integrate Firebase and Google Maps into an app in both Thunkable and Android Studio, and also had the opportunity to experiment around with the APIs to learn what these two tools were capable of in a mobile app environment. We learned about SHA-1 fingerprints as well as Google Maps API keys during the development of AEGIS.
What's next for AEGIS
Buddy system integration with campus security escort services We plan on integrating AEGIS with pre-existing university escort services for a more integrated and trustworthy experience, without having to call an external number buried on university webpages.
Buddy chat system We plan on creating a cloud communication system to link the student requesting a Buddy to the Buddy they matched with, allowing for easier communication regarding arrival times, as well as allowing the student to communicate any concerns they have for their safety to their Buddy.
Buddy tracking system We plan on creating a system that shares the Buddy's location to the student who requested them, thus making it clearer how long the student will need to wait before their escort arrives.
Safe routes and safety reviews We plan on allowing users to select and share routes that they consider to be safer or more dangerous, as well as add an extended review explaining their decisions.
Map markers for incident reporting We plan on allowing incident reports to be associated with markers and be displayed to other users of the app around nearby locations, letting them view the time of occurrence as well as the reporter's description.
Comment system for incident reporting We plan on adding a comment system to the incident reporting system that allows users to view and comment on other users' incident reports, potentially providing additional evidence towards incidents and dispelling false incident reports.
.edu email filtering We plan on developing a method to detect whether or not the e-mail address used to sign up is a .edu email, and linking the user to both their college and other students from the same college.
UI Improvements We would like to add color scheme options under user preferences, specifically light/dark mode options, and a toggle option as to whether or not to change the theme based on sunrise/sunset times for the user's timezone.