Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media connect so many of us but, often, those connections fall short of the everyday interactions that we take for granted. Our team believes that one of the most impactful experiences you can share with someone is laughter. This inspired us to make a webapp that randomly connects users for the purpose of just that: sharing a fleeting moment of laughter.

What it does

Beam allows users to join one-on-one video chat sessions in which they try to make each other laugh. They are connected randomly, there is no text chat, and there is no audio chat. The point is to share a moment with a stranger through only video. The first person who smiles or laughs loses, and the connection is lost forever.

How we built it

We used WebRTC to allow users to stream video to one another and Firebase to coordinate these connections. Using Microsoft Azure's Face API, we were able to track if and when users smiled to facilitate the game.

Challenges we ran into

Most of our team was new to Javascript and we ran into difficulties with the asynchronous nature of it. Finding a quality WebRTC library (and servers) was also difficult.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

For some of us, this was our first hackathon, and we chose a project that incorporated a lot of different elements that we had little experience in. Getting them all to cooperate and finishing what we set out to do was very rewarding.

What we learned

Apart from the technology, we learned the value of prioritizing tasks because we sometimes got bogged down with less important decisions and features.

What's next for Beam

We'd like to add more fun features and game modes. For example, users could draw on each other to try and make each other laugh. As far as game modes go, we thought of doing a staring contest or a game in which users would try and imitate various emotions. We'd also love to take the time to improve the user interface.

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