Inspiration

The inspiration behind Brudencal

What it does

Brudencal is a conversational chatbot that learns from conversations it has with real people. Brudencal can also aid the user by providing information in a more natural, convenient, and hands-free way. One special feature we added to Brudencar is the ability to quickly inform the user of recent news about a given topic.

How we built it

We began by looking at a project on github that taught us how to get started on the api.ai. We first got through the basic function of the bot with voice recognition, input, and output by using Node.js hooked up to api.ai. Then, we shifted gears to implementing a user interface using basic HTML/CSS. We had one member work on the article web scraping/summarizing function of the bot (implemented using a very handy api called sumy), while others worked on training the bot using api.ai. We didn't have too much data so we decided to go around CalHacks and ask fellow hackers, mentors, staff, and sponsors to ask Brudencar questions.

Challenges we ran into

We ran into issues while trying to implement translate with Brudencar, so much trouble that it ended up not making the final cut! It was also a little difficult trying to hook up the news function (written in Python) with the Node.js used to communicate with api.ai. Finally, sleep and other life responsibilities made it difficult for us to work the entire time.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Just having a very polished product on the surface and a somewhat well-oiled machine in the background makes everyone on our team very proud. To be specific, it's the coolest thing to speak to something you made, and have it respond right back at you. We're also proud of how well we worked together (which is why we decided to name the bot after all three of our names - BRUce, DENny, CARson.

What we learned

Not surprisingly, we all learned a lot about the technology used to implement the bot (particularly Node.js and api.ai). In addition to this, we also gained a greater sense of what it is like to collaborate with other people as well as online (by using already implemented functionalities). Some of us learned a lot of web design techniques.

What's next for Brudencar Chatbot

We want to integrate all sorts of functionality into Brudencar! One such thing we will be implementing in the future is compatibility with different languages, which we would like to implement using the Google Cloud Translation API. We would also like to make Brudencar contextually aware because that would make it even more conversational!

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