I've used Wolfram Alpha in the past, and the technology was fascinating to me. The computational engine was extremely powerful and its database provided me with many answers and aided me in my academic pursuits. I wanted to build something that utilized this technology and impacted the student community by helping them acquire more knowledge quicker and collaborate with this tool.
What it does
CipherPad is a computational knowledge engine similar to Wolfram Alpha, but with handwriting-recognition and speech-recognition technology. CipherPad will interpret anything you write down directly on the tablet or phone or anything you say out loud, and it will instantly give you results and information on the subject. It's very powerful in terms of accepting various types of input. Additionally, students can share these questions, output, and answer to their friends through a Questions Feed (built in the app), and message or email any of their contacts.
How I built it
I built the computational engine by incorporating Wolfram Alpha's database, speech-recognition technology with SpeechKit, and the handwriting-recognition technology with MyScript API. I also built the app backend through REST API calls and Parse for the social collaboration and sharing.
Challenges I ran into
I had many challenges with interpreting the XML results I received from the REST API calls and displaying them properly and neatly on the UI. I had to encrypt, encode, convert, and interpret a huge variety of information in order to display everything on the UI. The backend, overall, was fairly tough to build.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm proud that I was able to build an app that incorporates so many innovative and unique technologies, especially the computation-knowledge engine and handwriting-recognition technology. I was also able to integrate this technology into a useful product that students will find extremely useful in their everyday lives. Won 2nd place at MakeHacks 2015
What I learned
I learned a lot about how databases work, using many APIs from speech-recognition to handwriting-recognition technology, navigation among different scenes, app design and flow, and integration of all these different technologies.
What's next for CipherPad
I can continue to improve the handwriting-recognition technology in CipherPad and extend the computational knowledge engine's capabilities.