Our team believes that today, Alexa represents a paradigm shift as the newest, most powerful form of user interaction. While previous generations featured typing and touching to communicate with computers, voice is a fantastic new medium that gives users much more flexibility while making computers more serviceable and convenient for us.

What it does

Nutrition Tracker helps individuals keep track of your personal health goals while answering any health related questions you might have. You can ask Nutrition Tracker how many calories are in different foods, and you can also record the amount of calories you've eaten everyday by adding meals to Nutrition Tracker's queue of past meals that you've eaten. You can also ask Nutrition Tracker for meal recommendations or advice for dealing with different illnesses.

How we built it

Nutrition Tracker was built using the Javascript programming language and Amazon Developer Console frameworks. We created a main index.js file that carried the main functionality of the program, which was primarily used for identifying user 'intents' and responding appropriately to given prompts. We deployed this code using Amazon Web Services' Lambda tool. Then, we configured our Alexa Skill's intent schema, utterances and slots using the developer console, before building the entire project and testing it using our echo device.

Challenges we ran into

Our primary challenge was understanding the Javascript language and using the Alexa framework. We came in not really understanding anything Javascript related. Also, Alexa's built in methods and whole program flow took a while to understand.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This was the first time any of us had ever worked with Javascript, and the fact that it did not take us too much time to understand not only the syntax, but also the technicalities of Javascript libraries, frameworks, and Alexa-specific methods was a very fulfilling experience in that we learned much more than we anticipated. We're also very excited by a whole new platform of Alexa apps that we discovered at this hackathon, and we do hope to continue shipping more skills to the Amazon Alexa app store.

What we learned

This was the first time any of us had programmed in Alexa, or for that matter, Javascript, so we were quite happy with ourselves and our ability to pick up an entire language in such a short amount of time. We had never worked with Alexa's online developer console or the AWS Lambda service, so for our team, this project was one of several first-time encounters with different tools.

What's next for Nutrition Tracker

We hope to create user login and the ability to make accounts for Nutrition Tracker. We would also like to incorporate a companion iOS application that allows you to keep track of your nutrition habits while providing you in-app recommendations in case one does not have access to Alexa. We also want to diversity Alexa's abilities so that it includes different aspects of health such as fitness, meal recommendations, and medical information.

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