I am going to be studying abroad next semester in Europe, and the only language I know is English. While I am there, I want to be able to learn what things are on the fly, without having to type anything in and deciphering what it is in English first.

What it does

Captura allows you to take a picture of anything and then, by image processing, deciphers what it is and gives you either the English, Spanish, German, or French phrase, pronunciation, and spelling. As you take more and more photos and learn more and more words, you develop your own dictionary of pictures associated to phrases that you can reflect on and learn from.

How I built it

I used the Clarifai API to help with image processing, the Microsoft-Translate API to convert the Clarifai output to multiple languages, the Voice-RSS API to then pronounce the word, and I chose to use Java Maven with Apache Tomcat, because it was universal between the two APIs. I also used Firebase for the backend to handle logins and user information.

Challenges I ran into

Setting up Maven was very challenging. I had only briefly used it before, and so a majority of my time was dedicated to learning the ins and outs of Maven. PhoneGap for Maven also proved to be a challenge because I did not have all of the Apple Developer requirements established. I really wanted to get the web app done first so that way I had the logic established before I dove into mobile, however I ran out of time towards the end. As a compromise, I ended up making my app mobile compatible. I also could not figure out how to assign a proper domain to my maven project, so I had to run it on my localhost to test. Along with that, I initially spent the first night trying to set up my own database. By the wee hours of the morning on Saturday I chose to scratch that idea and just use Firebase. I decided to go with Firebase over Parse or MongoDB because I had used it before and I wanted to save time since I was learning so many new APIs and languages.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Being able to create an application I will actually use while I am abroad! It is always a pain to have to go to online, type the word, and translate it. With my app, all you have to do is take a picture.

Aside from the idea, I really like the design, and I think that the code is all intuitive.

What I learned

Maven is a pain in the butt! This was the first hackathon or many that I have been to where I utilized the mentorship for me. I started barely knowing maven at all and now I feel like I can whip something up in a couple hours!

What's next for captura

I definitely want to continue developing for it and making the iOS app. Once I have my credentials in line, I will be able to continue development on that end.

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