Inspiration

On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes. 90% of adolescents' suicides are related to mental health problems.

With mental health issues on the rise due to things like online bullying and harassment, we wanted to create a companion that allows friends and family to discreetly check up on their network and take action.

What it does

Buddy is an Alexa skill that pulls and analyzes the user's friend's Facebook posts, using statistical sentiment analysis. When prompted, Echo Buddy relays information regarding the friend's current, past, and average sentiment and risk for depression.

How we built it

Using Python and the Facebook graph API, we data-mined individuals' wall posts to evaluate their mood and likelihood for depression. We used AWS Lambda to create the Alexa skill and an Amazon Echo to test it.

Challenges we ran into

Since we are all business majors, we had difficulty with the technical aspects of our project. Some of the issues included: pagination of Facebook's graph API, integration of SDKs, code efficiency, and linking Alexa to DynamoDB.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We made a project! Our code runs!

On a more serious note, we're happy that our project has a humanitarian impact and social good aspect. As college students, we've seen friends suffer from mental health issues and we wanted to create something that can help.

What we learned

We learned how to use and integrate APIs, more specifically, how to use Facebook's graph API. We also learned how to program an Alexa skill through AWS Lambda, how pair-programming works, and how to ask the right questions.

What's next for Echo Buddy

Using machine learning to better predict sentiment and enable Alexa to take action when needed. Being able to view posts to view posts on friends' walls. Creating a web application interface to visualize sentiment trends. Allowing Alexa to collect speech data and tones. Combine this data with analysis of Facebook posts to provide a more holistic prediction of likelihood of depression. Expanding Buddy to recognize and tackle other mental health issues.

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