Based on personal experience in school and workplace, staring at the laptop for an extended period of time is very taxing on physical and mental health. Furthermore, it decreases productivity and hinders creativity. In some workplaces, people use Slack channel to share cute images and funny GIFs as a way to destress and improve workplace well-being. We were inspired by these Slack channels and thought that it would be even more helpful if we could get shown these cute images exactly when we need them the most.

What it does

CatOn is a unique Chrome extension that takes care of your mental and physical health by combining AI-leveraged, contextual mini-interruptions and on-demand reminders to help you have a productive, stress free and painless work day. By recognizing your facial expression, CatOn collects data points that symbolize stress. When too many of those data points were collected over some time, CatOn triggers an HTTP call to send a cute animal picture to you via Google Chrome. CatOn also has a manual mode that does not require the user to turn on his or her webcam. In the manual mode, the user can set a periodic reminder for each of the four following activities: Dose of Cuteness, Stretch Break, Blink Reminder, and Exercise Break. Of course, the user can configure the time frame between notifications.

How I built it

We used Google Cloud Vision API to detect a face from the image. With that face crop, we run through another custom model trained with a thousand images to predict if the person is showing any sign of stress. When a sign of stress frequently showed up within a frame of 2 hours, we will use Node.js backend to send a request to our frontend with cute .gif. The frontend Chrome Extension or Slack will then ask the user to rest for a while with cute .gif. For frontend theme color, we used Coolors to generate nice color combi

Challenges I ran into

How to make sure that the webcam is not invasive. Learn how to run FMV on facial expression for stress detection for the first time. (Actually, it is the first time that we are using Google API as well). Learn to usee Node.js, Express and for the first time.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We made everything work!!! The custom ML model is pretty accurate too

What I learned

Designer is really an important asset to a team, and we regret that we could not get a designer to join us.

What's next for CatOn

We want to encourage workplace interaction and foster human connection by reminding people to check up on their neighbors. For instance, if CatOn notices an employee is particularly stressed, it may notify the neighboring employees to check up on their colleague or give them the option to send a cute animal picture.

How scalable can this project be?

It is super scalable, we host everything on the cloud, the custom ML model and our backend logic. All you need to do is to download the chrome extension or add CatOn Slack Plugin.

What is the market size?

One in four Canadians cite stress as the reason for leaving their job. Based on , 81% of all north american working classes report at least some level of stress. Because of that, north american businesses lose up to $320 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress.

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