First beginning our project, we found ourselves aimlessly searching for ideas that would cover the topics of Biotechnology, Environmental Sustainability, or COVID-19 research. It happened almost suddenly, however, we began to speak about our likes and dislikes: we found our common interests lay in wanting to delve deeper into ways we can impact, specifically, disadvantaged individuals. One of our group members had shared a personal story about her family member looking for a center that fell under the category of biotechnology, and the obstacles they had faced in their pursuit of help. We settled on this idea because it seemed the most personable for us; it combined both our love for helping others and the personal connections each of us held to this topic. Ultimately, our aimless searching allowed us a more introspective look towards what we wanted to create and implement as programmers.
What it does
Our program is, as stated above, aimed to locate the nearest biotech centers that deal with genetic testing, prosthetics, crime and forensics, and pharmaceutical procedures. The user must input a zip-code into the text box as well as specifying which type of biotech center to locate the nearest locations under that type. Currently, since our program is still a prototype, the only zip-code that works is for the Beverly Hills, CA area (90210). So to test this program fully, we recommend using this zip-code for the time being (other zip-codes have yet to be implemented).
How I built it
We built this program first by using pseudocode to get the "gist" of what we wanted to do. In the beginning, we established our main variables: the zip-code, location, and center. Next, we wanted to make sure that the user would be able to pick their preference of biotech centers (ie. prosthetics, genetic testing, etc.) from a dropdown menu depending on their location/zip-code. We utilized the UIs from App Lab such as the buttons and dropdowns to make our program a bit more intuitive and more functional. We used the aerial images of maps to pinpoint exactly where these locations are at (using the zip-code 90210 of course).
Challenges I ran into
There were quite a few challenges that we had run into, especially with a program like this. First of all, the biggest challenge was the time constraint; my team and I wanted to develop an elaborate system that performed in real-time, but our ambition would not have made sense during the span of a mere two to three days. So instead, we had to compromise and develop a program that would deliver our intended message across, despite it not being 100% fully developed. We also had some trouble implementing the map images and defining the exact locations but we made it through with our collaborative teamwork.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
As a team, we are proud of being able to develop a program such as this one albeit being quite new to programming. I speak for most of my team when I say that this is our first Hackathon, so being able to join the ranks of other proclaimed programmers had allowed us to break down the fear of "not belonging"--we took a leap of faith, and I believe that is an accomplishment in and of itself. We are also very proud of being able to develop something in a short amount of time that adequately conveys what our intended goal was. We also worked as a team throughout all of this, our disagreeing and agreeing and our synchronized thinking processes allowed us to reach this final product for the time being.
What I learned
I believe that as a team we have learned how to maneuver a challenge such as this one through collaboration. In order to have gone through this process, we realized that we had to utilize each person's strengths in order to come about and create a project such as this one. We learned about new ways we could go through the coding process as well: we first developed a plan then drafted it using pseudocode, coded out first test-run and then began debugging until we felt as if it was perfect for what we intended to create. This programming challenge allowed us to grow as programmers and as team players.
What's next for Bio-Tech Industries: Bio-Tech Locator
We hope that Bio-Tech Industries: Bio-Tech Locator will grow and expand into a mobile app that will be able to utilize the user's location/zip-code automatically so that whatever center they are looking for may be located with ease. As this program only runs as a prototype (using the zip-code 90210), we want to make the scope of the app apply to more people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope that this app will also enlighten quite a few people: if there are fewer areas around less affluent locations, then that sends a signal to others that these places may require more resources to help them. We hope that this will legitimately help those who are in desperate need of searching for certain biotech centers in order to help themselves, friends, or family. If chosen, we will use the funds we receive in order to further our research and our production of the application to help more people.