Our parents donate blood when the chance presents itself. Plus, donation of blood is promoted and pushed in out schools with fundraisers and stickers reminding to donate.We recently found out that most donated blood actually gets thrown out, and we knew there had to be a more efficient way to help our community.
What it does
Think of this project as the Uber of blood. It is a combination of two apps: one for the blood donor and one for the recipient. The app for the donor allows them to sign up to give blood by inputting their name, city, blood type, and advance notice needed. Then, they can receive possible requests. The app for the recipient allows them to make and send requests to possible donors in the area. This would, of course, all be through a hospital (as in, the donor and recipient would both be registered with a hospital). By using this app, blood could be donated within 42 days of when it’s needed, and no blood would go to waste!
We also created an accompanying website to explain our project and encourage people to donate blood.
How we built it
We used Mit App Inventor to make the two apps and an Android phone to run them. In addition, the blood donation form is through Google Forms and we used a Google Spreadsheet to store and analyze all of our data. We created the accompanying website using repl.it and a bootstrap template.
Challenges we ran into
In this entire hackathon, we’ve changed our project idea 3 times (AR for the deaf, AR brain game, and this blood project). In the first two projects, we tried to use Unity and Leap to create an AR program. However, none of us have any experience in either software, making it nearly impossible to do anything. After spending hours learning about both softwares, we finally realized that our attempts were futile. In addition, we didn’t have a graphics card (which we needed for Leap).
As such, we only started creating this project Sunday morning. While this presented a whole slew of time challenges, another major challenge we faced was integrating Google Spreadsheets into MIT App Inventor. Unlike Android Studio or Anaconda, App Inventor is based on blocks. MIT App Inventor’s capabilities are severely limited and need to be worked around.
While making the website, we had trouble making the classes of the code match in the index and CSS.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
First of all, we’re proud of actually completing an app in the time provided! In addition, we’re proud that we found a way to implement Google Spreadsheets into MIT App Inventor.
Although we didn’t end up using Unity or Leap, we still learned a lot about both. We’re proud of taking the risk of trying something new, even if it didn’t work out.
What we learned
We learned many things about teamwork along the path of this Hackathon. One thing we learned was that teammates don’t need to know each other to have good communication. None of us knew each other going into this Hackathon, but that did not stop us from working very well together and producing good work.We also learned that Unity is a powerful tool that can be used to make very complex games and that Leap is very cool, but hard to integrate into Unity. We learned that even simple softwares (such as MIT App Inventor) can be used to do fairly complex things (analyze a spreadsheet). Finally, we learned that you can always create something to help others, no matter how small or simple it is.
What's next for Blood 4 U2
In the future, we hope to integrate both the Google Places API and Google Distance API into our app to provide better and more accurate information for who is nearby and available to donate blood. We can also create an automated email system to immediately notify possible donors that they are needed. We hope that, in the future, hospitals start using our app to make their blood exchanges more efficient. In the end, all we really want to do is help our community and save lives.