Even when you have found that one thing you're passionate about, working towards developing your knowledge and skills for that passion can be arduous. Long hours of work is a common struggle that can be helped with Amuse.

Utilizing a similar idea as the Pomodoro Method in which one iterates between moderate study periods and brief breaks, Amuse provides short bursts of brain-relief to stop yourself from burning out, and maximize your work efficiency.

What it does

Amuse sends periodic customized picture notifications that contain cute animal pictures or jokes. Users can enjoy the mini brain-break for the duration of the notification, or decide to take a longer break by clicking on the notification and opening the Amuse app.

In the Amuse app, you can click through an unending amount of cute animal pictures and jokes to your heart's content. Also, you can like or dislike jokes to modify how often that type of joke appears.

If you wish to enter the period of focused work without notifications, you can easily mute Amuse in the app settings, or by right-clicking the Amuse icon in the system tray if Amuse if minimized.

How we built it

Amuse was built with the .NET framework using C# and XAML. We designed this native windows application using Microsoft's GUI framework Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to incorporate the Fluent Design System to deliver the native Windows UX to users. By using the Fluent UI design specifications and component libraries, we aimed to create an intuitive application that coherently integrates with windows users.

Prior to programming the application, we collaboratively discussed, designed, and planned the interface and UX with Figma.

We also used Python's framework Flask to write a server to send requests to an API for cute animal pictures and implement an API for hand-picked jokes. With our server, we also give users the feature of adding their own jokes to the library which can be approved and be available to all users.

Challenges we ran into

The most significant challenge we ran into was learning about Fluent UI Design in order to create an application that is familiar to Windows users. Finding libraries that were still being maintained and were relevant to our program was difficult at times. This was especially true for the core notification feature of the app that sends picture notification containing cute animals or jokes.

What's next for Amuse

We are proud of how we were able to transform a simple, whimsical idea into a well-design application suitable for the Windows environment. In the future, we hope to incorporate machine learning into Amuse's joke moderation system in order to automate the filtering of user-inputted jokes that are appropriate to be disseminated publicly.

Also, we hope to improve customizability for what kind of entertaining images or jokes the user likes to see, hopefully designing a better API for jokes or utilizing larger organized databases of jokes that can be categorized and tailored to the user's preference

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