As students, we've experienced the struggle of having to memorize large amounts of information in very little time. When faced with that challenge, we often opt for flashcards since quizzing yourself helps retention. Unfortunately, the process of creating and using flashcards is time-consuming with lots of room for bias when considering whether or not we were right.
What it does
By taking advantage of Alexa's ability to interact with users by voice, we created a web app that allows users to quickly create a deck of flashcards that Alexa will then quiz them on.
How we built it
Our application uses three main components: a VUI (Voice User Interface) for interacting with users thanks to Alexa's custom skill kit, a Lambda function running on Node on AWS to process user queries and submit Alexa responses and finally a web application running on Node/Express that allows users to create and save their decks of cards for different subjects.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest issue was using Alexa's API to grab variable user input. The API usually requires you to specify a specific type of response that you are expecting and has no straightforward way of grabbing exactly what the user said. Due to the varying nature of flashcards answer (anything from a boolean value, a number, a word or a sentence is possible) we had to find a way to get Alexa to get the user's input even if we hadn't specified exactly what it would look like.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Ultimately, we're very proud of having been able to construct a functional service using an API that none of our team members had used before.
What we learned
What's next for Cardless
We'd like to improve the NLP that compares a user's answer to the specified answer as well as implement techniques that allow Alexa to help you study more effectively.