They say we’re simply a reflection of the five closest people to us. It’s so easy to get comfortable in our own echo chambers, lost in opinions that seem so real because they’re all around us. But sometimes we can’t look at life as a bigger picture unless we take a step back and empathize with people we don’t normally talk about.

7cups, a site where I volunteered to talk to anonymous strangers about their lives, helped me do that. BubblePop was inspired to do the same.

What it does

BubblePop presents you with a series of opinions. Chocolate is life; Psychopaths are simply less socially inhibited; The US should implement a junk food tax. Swipe up, down, left, or right - your choice. Once done, you’re connected with your furthest neighbor - a stranger who answered the most differently from you. Meet up and say hello!

On a more serious note, recently with the advent of social media oligarchies, fake news, and extremist groups, division of opinion has received a reputation as the enemy of societal progress. This shouldn't be the case, though.

We create a place where people can anonymously proclaim their opinions on various articles regarding pressing issues. Then, we match people with differing opinions and encourage them to meet and discuss in a productive fashion. We hope to foster a diverse yet highly empathetic community.

How I built it

  • Firebase Realtime Database - Opinion bank storage, profile storage, and partner matching state storage-
  • Twilio - Effortless peer to peer calling
  • Code and iOS - main platform

Challenges I ran into

First: Our team was quite unprepared for iOs since only one teammate had briefly worked with the platform and we only had two and a half Macs out of the four of us. Nevertheless, we learned iOs literally overnight and pulled through on the project.

Second: I wish I paid more attention in university math classes. For one of the first times in my life, I was required to think mathematically about a computer science problem. The goal was to transform the longitude and latitude coordinates of myself and my match, as well as my current compass direction, into a two-dimensional vector of how I should move to quickly reach my match. Unfortunately, after my teammate and I stressed for over six hours on this issue, reading mathematical formulas again and again while questioning whether we actually understood any of it, we finally settled on a semi-satisfactory compromise. In other words, we hacked it.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Half the things stated above.

What I learned

How iOS works, how iOS doesn’t work, and how iOS sometimes works.

What's next for BubblePop

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