Inspiration

We wanted to create a tool which was useful, while still making the best out of the hackathon to learn and challenge ourselves with new technologies. Inspiration was mainly from the new trends of bots for companies and we wanted to see and experience how to create one.

What it does

Buddy Bot is a friend, through normal conversation it would be able to set up unified reminders for you. What makes us different from your typical reminder tool is the media we are using, Facebook Messenger, which allows us to alert you from your desktop to phones to smart devices all in one place, all at once, easily. Will be able t notify for healthy activities and regular breaks when on device for too long to increase mental awareness and physical activity

How we built it

We decided to create a Facebook bot using Flask & wit.ai. By using Heroku and using Flask we were able to start creating a basic bot after we started using wit.ai which allowed us to improve the communications with the bot and user

Challenges we ran into

Many problems with getting the apis to work, messenger crashing multiple times and having troubles with stopping the reminder that the bot would be pushing. As well we had to work with python threading and as well using python timers and events to emulate javascript set interval

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We made our first messenger bot that works and has many functions. On top, we created a website to market the bot and allow users to easily just log in to messenger and use our bot all in 37 hours. We are proud to learn all these technologies and challenged ourselves by stepping out of our comfort zone instead of taking the safe route and using the technologies we are familiar with.

What we learned

We learned many technologies that are very different from what we have learnt in the past such as

  • Flask
  • wit.ai API
  • Python threading
  • Bootstrap
  • Javascript ## What's next for Buddy Bot We have many plans with Buddy Bot like introducing these notifications for doctors appointments, medicines, groceries as well different feeds of new exercises and partnering with physical companies like Nike to produce better content for the user and more variety towards a healthy living.
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Updates

Mohammad Ismail posted an update

Just an update as to what is happening behind the scenes and why the try it out isn't really a try it out but rather links to our marketing site for our hack. As we expressed during our demo, Facebook has an extensive review process when it comes to bots and rightly so as the code is stored on our Heroku server running python/Flask and if malicious devs unlike us decided to convert their app into a spam bot it would cause mayhem of course. As a result, only Admins of the BuddyBot page and Developer App are able to communicate with the bot. Rest assured for the meantime we will be posting links to many screenshots and/or gifs of it in action if you did not have the chance to check it out at our demo.

As of now, the website links to market our bot are live. We have switched hosting provider to a more reliable/convenient one.

Features to come/steps to complete hopefully:

  • Fully implement the remainder of functions/intents we wrote but didn't have the time to add in as we were debugging a fatal bug for most of the hours leading up the demo.
  • Implement the firebase database with authentication to improve user security and privacy (we hope doing so will help with the review process efforts in getting our bot live on messenger for all of you to use/enjoy)
  • Train our instance of the Wit AI with a wider variety of examples than what was capable at the hackathon itself so that it can handle even more dynamic inquiries.
  • Add more useful features one would expect from such a bot. (we would love if you left comments on what type of features you'd like to see at full release)
  • Start the review process once steps 1-3 and possibly 4 are completed so we can start the testing phase and have users use BudgetBuddy while Facebook monitor/ensure that our bot is indeed a helpful personal assistant and not a "spam bot"

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