Inspiration

This time at our second hackathon, we really wanted to work beyond software, so we rented a Amazon Echo. All of us were new to this technology, so we sought to work on something simple, yet practical. After looking at Echo's documentation, especially it's utilization of natural learning algorithms, we realized that we could build a simple marketplace for retail items.

What it does

Our app can use specific voice commands to create marketplace interactions like renting, buying, and seeing the # of items in an inventory. We also built a web app to facilitate and visualize the transactions.

How we built it

We used mongodb, nodeJS, express, angular, bootstrap to build our web app. Using AWS Lambda and Alexa Skill Portal, we were able to create the voice interface for our application.

Challenges we ran into

A big challenge we ran into was working with AWS for the first time. It was hard for us to figure out how to utilize Javascript modules within AWS-- this took a lot of time to debug. Afterward, it took a lot of time to figure out how to have our NodeJs server communicate with the Alexa device to modify the marketplace transactions.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of creating our first Amazon Echo voice interface!

What we learned

We learned how to create an Amazon Echo voice interface and improve our skills working with NodeJS.

What's next for Alexalist

We plan to expand the voice interactions and to brainstorm more ideas on how to fully utilize the auditory functions of Alexa, in the same way we maximize our visual capacities by interpreting data through graphs and charts.

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