Children as young as 7 are getting their own smartphones and bringing their phones along with them wherever they go, to school, home, or a friend’s house. We wanted to utilize the background location-tracking abilities of smartphones to allow busy families to stay connected and safe.

What it does

ChildSafe is a mobile application that informs parents on whether their children are exposed to danger. After logging in with Facebook, children and parents will have their respective user flow to sign up and match with each other. After confirming their identity, ChildSafe would let parents mark safe areas for their children. If their children are outside of these safe zones, then we send notifications to the parent, so that the parent is aware of these changes in the child’s location. With the high number of abductions going on in recent years, we hope this product will improve safety and reduce kidnapping rates among teenagers and younger children. With ChildSafe, parents can rest assured that their children are protected even when they are alone.

How we built it

The app is built with Swift on Xcode. We integrated Facebook login, Google Firebase, and Apple Map API. We prototyped our mockups on Sketch, tinkered with React-Native and node.js, and rapidly build a mobile app with Swift. To provide the most helpful information, we accurately stored the data in real time database, tracked the children, and pushed out notifications when any danger is identified.

Challenges we ran into

We originally built the app with react-native but ended up with a lot of outdated and buggy API documentation. After spending a day and a half debugging, we eventually pivoted the iOS app to Swift on Saturday evening. While we have planned the tech stack and design, we didn’t expect to run into such difficulties. Fortunately, Swift, Firebase, and Map APIs worked out smoothly.

Given that we had to pivot so late into the hackathon, we wanted to go with a simple design that consisted of only the key features of what we imagined our product would end up doing. Simple designs also reduce the cognitive overhead of our users and increase the rate of successful onboarding among our potential users. Aesthetically, simple screens of green hues made up the overall design of the app. Green, the color of life, is perfect for ChildSafe as young life is what we hope to protect with this product and our logo, showcasing a mother embracing his little child, reflects that as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of implementing the Facebook login configuration, Map API and geo filtering, and sending notifications to update the children’s status. In addition to building the technical stack, we are proud of utilizing technology to create social good (also, pull together a working app in the last batch of Yhack).

What we learned

In the process of building this application, we learned how to integrate Facebook, Google, and Apple APIs. First off, we learned to create a minimum viable product and relentlessly iterate on it. From specing out the prototypes to building out the iOS, we have enabled searching, filtering, and notifying with interactive design. Furthermore, we learned from experienced mentors to build with Swift, Objective-C, React native when we get stuck. From ideation to fruition, we learned to design a meaningful product that provides an essential information to all human beings.

What's next for ChildSafe

  1. Develop a reply from the children’s side to alerts, so that we can decrease false alarm.
  2. Suggest a list of places the family generally frequent when adding the geo filters.
  3. Integrate the app with close friends and family who are designated as “safe people” and show the child’s company to give the parents an additional sense of security when they are not with the child.
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