Life costs a lot of money. The more we get older, the more we keep thinking about what would happen if we learned about more efficient saving when we were younger. As life gets more expensive, the kids of the future need to be prepared financially to succeed and get this opportunity we didn't have. ALFEKA is a friendly toy that teaches children financial literacy.

What it does

ALFEKA is the "Automating Literacy Financial Education for Kids of America" alpaca. It acts as a virtual piggy bank and interacts with children to help them make deposits, create goals, and check their balance. It teaches children financial literacy at an early age to give them a jump start on proper money management and investing.

Why do we need this?

The best habits start young. Understanding how to save and why to save are lifelong lessons that are essential to life. In our lifetimes, we plan to save for a car, a vacation, college, etc., but efficient planning is not easy. It requires discipline and strategy that you can't learn overnight. Even though saving up for a small toy isn't on the same scale as saving up for a house, AFLEKA entices children to learn how to save through a cute and fluffy interface, and these fundamentals will last a lifetime.

How we built it

We modified an alpaca plushie with an arduino, servos, and LEDs to make it interactive and playful! The servos control the ear movement to show when ALFEKA is happy that money is added to the account. The LEDs light up to show ALFEKA's mood. A google home mini acts as the audio interface. We used JavaScript as our main platform and used DialogFlow to interact with the speech. We used Capital One's API, Nessie, to create various functions that simulate an online bank account such as storing money, transferring money between bank accounts, and checking the balance.

Challenges we ran into

Our biggest problems have been the interface between different APIs. We separated into two groups to divide and conquer the integration issues. One group solved the interface between Capital One and Google home. The second group figured out how to transfer data from web to Arduino.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were incredibly proud once we solved these integration issues.

What's next for ALFEKA

Version two will have all the hardware embedded inside the plushie, so ALFEKA is more child friendly.

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