The elderly are more distanced from loved ones due to the pandemic. To combat emotional social distancing and lack of understanding between generations, Bringo was born.
There are two needs that the seniors are currently combatting: loneliness and feeling socially valuable to society. These two issues were apparent even in times outside of the pandemic and was exacerbated by social distancing policies during the pandemic.
Furthermore, while the first could be solved by volunteers and helpers at retirement homes, the latter could not and lead a much greater impact.
In particular, one movie, The Intern, inspired much of this platform. In the Intern, a company hires seniors to work for them, and these seniors are not only entertained but also offered valuable insight.
Seniors also have valuable contributions, such as being more experienced in various fields. Some may have witnessed historical events first hand and others can offer advice on various subjects and interests. As such, the idea of Bringo became more concrete: our goal is not just to solve the loneliness of seniors, but to connect the seniors and younger generation, both socially and culturally.
What it does
Bringo is a web platform that can help seniors reach out to younger people (and vice versa) for meaningful conversations. We provide an easy-to-use interface that is senior friendly. Aside from the user profile, there are several features that can be accessed via the dashboard: the social section, the blog section, and the bingo.
Using our social section feature, our users can either socialize (1-vs-many) in rooms or schedule specific conversations. For the latter, users are directed to our directory, where they can see other users' profiles and filter them based on several attributes: age, experiences, interests, etc. When a user filters by experiences and interests, they will be recommended users with experiences closer to their own. Their own interests can be manually updated, and their experiences are processed from their previous conversations using IBM Natural Language API. They can also filter by age. Elderly can connect with each other as peers. For all social options, the method of socialization is via video call (either scheduled or in rooms).
In the blog section, the seniors can conveniently share their own experiences. With speech to text capabilities, the elderly have the option to communicate with others easily without the delay or inconvenience of typing.
Lastly, we have a social bingo that can be refreshed on a monthly basis. In this bingo, users can keep track of all of the variety of the people they have talked to and the conversations they've held. When they get a five-in-a-row, they achieve a "bringo". This can urge users to seek diverse experiences with those community.
How we built it
We built the user interface using Vue/Vuetify while making the video/room features with Web RTC. Finally, we also created the speech to text capability with Web Speech API and also used IBM Natural Language Processing API.
Challenges we ran into
We had the challenge of learning new technologies in a short period of time and applying that knowledge to making good software. For instance, three members had never used Vue before and had to learn it from scratch!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of the Video Call feature and the speech-to-text for the blog posts. We’re also proud of integrating MongoDB with Vue ui with working filters!
What we learned
What's next for Bringo
Up next is scaling to make it accessible for non-English by using the IBM Translation API
*Graphics from the website is from freepik