Meme-bers (Discord username):
- Yonathan Zetune (y00z#6248)
- Dylan Theriot (Doubled#7628)
- Anooj Shah (anoojshah#7132)
- Paurushmani Singh (paurush#2202)
Our parents and grandparents sacrificed so much for us to create the world we live in today. In today's time, our loved ones are at high risk due to COVID-19. The elderly at nursery homes are stuck being isolated in their small rooms - day after day - night after night. It hurts to know that we can't visit them during these stressful times when they need the social comfort the most. That's why we wanted to create a solution that allows for a sense of community. Thus we made Apartly - you might be physically apart, but not socially. You're just Apartly! :)
What it does
Apartly is an end to end platform that allows the elderly to virtually and easily join interest group meetings over platforms like Zoom. We wanted to provide an easy-to-use solution for elderly people to scroll through the same day-to-day events they normally attended. They can search and subscribe to different groups and join these meetups with the click of a button. They can even create their own meetings if they can't find anyone with a similar interest! This will help keep their sense of community in a time where they're being forced to isolate. We utilize Zoom APIs to automate the whole thing for them, that way all they have to do is worry about pressing a few simple buttons.
How we built it
We also developed a back-end API using Flask that integrated with Zoom to create and join videos. We created over 4 API endpoints that follow REST API guidelines. Our database was hosted on MongoDB, with the back-end being hosted on Heroku.
Challenges I ran into
Some challenges were being able to host the back-end API on Heroku so that our mobile and web application could communicate with it. This was an important part of the project that took a LOT of time, but we are glad to have learned more about MongoDB and Heroku. There were also challenges as well with GET and POST requests, as well as parsing json data as we are not too familiar with this. Another challenge we ran into was maximizing simplicity for such a complex and interwoven application. After all, we wanted anyone to be able to intuitively use this site whether they had been programming for 14 years or had never seen a computer in their life! So we did as best as we could to make the whole thing really simple... But we're always welcome to feedback, so please leave a comment either on the Devpost or YouTube video if you feel think of any improvements we can make!
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I think out of the four of us, we got a combined total of about 5 hours of sleep. We worked hard, and this was our first ever virtual hackathon! We're also really proud of how well we worked together even though none of us were in person with each other.
After many many hours of struggling to be able to host the backend API, we were able to figure it out! Developing with multiple platforms was a great experience as we all learned a lot. We also think this is the most complex hackathon project any of us have ever attempted, and it definitely showed as we were stressed for time. And although we didn't get to implement everything that we wanted to, we are truly proud of the work we did and just how much we grew as developers this weekend. Thank you to the Rowdy Hacks team for such an awesome event!
What we learned
Being able to work remotely has taught us all a lot about how to efficiently communicate and update one another. We also learned a LOT, and we cannot stress this enough, A LOT about back-end design and hosting. Most of us are front-end designers/hardware specialists, so having to create a database as complex as this was really cool to figure out. Integrating with such a complex database was also really cool! This whole experience has been incredibly rewarding and we've learned so much.
What's next for Apartly
We hope to pinpoint apartment complexes for friends and neighbors to still enjoy the same sense of community and friendship. Although the main goal of this was targeting the elderly to still be able to communicate with those in their residential building, the applications of our easy-to-use platform is infinite. Whether it be students trying to host study meetings, or families trying to have a virtual get together, this platform can be used to help a lot of people feel more connected. Expanding Apartly's target demographic is one thing we would like to do in the future. We'd also like to better flush out the whole system, as we didn't have time to finish the "Scheduler" page that we wanted which would show all of the meetings you are subscribed to. So finishing up a few small touches here and there would be really nice!