💭 Inspiration

We were all inspired to remember the unforgettable moments of the past. Of course, we can’t remember everything that’s said nor can we remember the greatest moments captured in photos. The best way to help people root their precious memories into some sort of an object - that is, a time capsule - is to develop an application that would enable users to write and share heartfelt notes, record important videos and pictures, and explore outside.

By sharing capsules, users can interact with their loved ones, sending notes or images in a fun way. Because users must physically travel to the capsule in order to open it, they're encouraged to get out of the house and explore. We hope this can improve overall wellness, both socially and interacting with their surrounding environment.

🖥 What it does

CapsuleMap is a lifestyle app aimed at keeping users mentally and physically healthy. At a desired place, users may choose to create a capsule, adding a title, memo, photos, and/or videos that reflect their sentiment towards the current location. After creating it, users can choose to share the capsule with friends. After the capsule has been sent, it will appear in the "sent" tab in the user's capsules page, making it easy to keep track of personal capsules.

Users can open shared capsules by arriving in the vicinity (~50 meters) of the location where the capsule was created. When nearby, a green location marker will pop up, indicating the ready-to-open capsule. When opened, users are able to see all the attached notes, images, and videos inside the capsule. These opened capsules are then placed in the ‘opened’ tab in the capsules page. Additionally, options to view, add, or remove friends are all available in the user’s profile page.

🛠 How we built it

CapsuleMap is a fusion of new technology and new design. To build our app, we leveraged Flutter, a cross-platform application development framework that allows us to deploy on both iOS and Android to create beautiful UI.

We also used

  • Google Maps to show the map on the homepage
  • Firebase Auth, Cloud Firestore, Firebase Storage to store data—capsules, images, videos, profile info, etc.
  • Provider and MobX for seamless state management

🛑 Challenges we ran into

Challenges make up the majority of a project. Without challenges, though, the finished product wouldn’t be nearly as gratifying.

“I am a fairly new flutter programmer, so doing pretty simple things such as stacking two circles on top of each other was sufficiently challenging. There were also a few other problems with the UI, but with my team’s support, they worked out in the end :)” - Kimberly

“Being completely new to flutter, most of the challenges dealt with the language and structure of the code. One challenge I faced was structuring the rows and columns of the friend request page. It took a while to accurately and in an efficient way place the elements on the screen and create comfortable spacing between them. With the help of Google and my team’s patient support, the issues were resolved.” - Lisa

"Linking the UI and backend was a process. I wanted to practice using MobX for state management, so I ended up creating quite a number of stores—trying to fit everything together was difficult, but in the end the super smooth UI updates were worth it. It took some time to create models for our data and integrate it with Cloud Firestore and Firebase Storage, but it got done in time" - Samuel

“As a back-end developer of CapsuleMap, one of the most frustrating, but simple issues that I ran into was the deprecated Podfile’s IOS configuration. As a result, I was unable to seamlessly debug the app on time, costing roughly 3-4 hours before I realized that the IOS configuration needed to be changed from IOS 9.0 to IOS 10.0. From then, I had to enable these changes every time I pulled from Github - seriously. The second challenge I ran into was learning how to add a google maps parameter that could add markers based on the capsules of the user’s friends. In a past hackathon, I had integrated google maps, but I wasn’t sure on how to add ‘multiple marker” locations ‘’ - a technical skill I picked up in this hackathon. With my team’s support, we worked it through and are all the prouder.“ - Abdur

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🏆 Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re super proud of the fact that we helped new team members, Kimberly and Lisa, learn Flutter development. They made a ton of progress and actually created some beautiful UI designs within 36 hours, despite being quite new to app development. Additionally, we are proud that the app’s backend frameworks function as intended—time capsules can store pictures and videos and can be shared with other friends via a map.

🧠 What we learned

Two of us were pretty new to developing apps (it was actually Lisa's first time touching Flutter this weekend—this is her first hackathon 🎉) but made incredible progress in learning how to create widgets, design with Figma, and convert those designs to Flutter code.

Our backend developers learned/got better at:

  • Figuring out how to model our data
  • Using Firestore streams with MobX to serve real-time data efficiently
  • Integrating Google Maps with data from Firestore
  • Using plugins to allow for choosing images from the camera/gallery and displaying video

✏️ What's next for CapsuleMap

In order to make it simpler for users to track shared capsules, we plan to add a notifications feature to the app in the future. Additionally, in order to encourage users to expand their friend network, we hope to add features that will enable users to add friends just by scanning a personalized qr code. We also plan to allow users to add friends through imported contacts, and even befriend people that are nearby. Adding more interactive interfacing, such as quests and points when sharing/opening a capsule is also something we look forward to.

Perhaps most importantly is making CapsuleMap a startup. By doing so, we can inform friends about the app’s potential to strengthen and expand friendships with time capsules that are filled with precious, unforgettable voice memos, pictures, videos, etc, via social media. Obviously, we would need to develop and craft a startup documentation that lists the mission & vision goals of CapsuleMap for our community. Finally, as we look into the future, we will seek initiatives to continue improving technical aspects and be on the lookout to integrate upcoming new, cross-platform technologies.

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