Accidents are scary. They can happen to anyone to anyone at any time, when we least expect. The best we can do is to take measures to better prepare for these situations. Through our potentially life-saving service we hope to offer real-time alert of accidents as they happen to police and emergency care facilities. By dramatically reducing the time needed to contact first responders, we will greatly enhance a victim’s chance of survival. CloseCall is an app that’s going to look out for you when no one else will.
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 37,000 people die every year in the United States as a result of road crashes. In addition to individual lives being lost, fatal road accidents place economic burdens on the community- with an average cost of $820 per person or $230.6 billion per year (ASIRT). It is evident, that this is a huge problem that needs a solution. Indeed, this issue is not limited solely to the United States. According to the Annual Global Road Crash Statistics Report provided by ASIRT, an average of 1000 people dies every day in the world, with over 90% of the fatalities occurring in developing worlds. When it comes to life and death, we cannot discriminate against those who have the resources and those who do not. CloseCall is a highly integrated mobile application and full stack web service application that effectively connects victims with police and emergency medical personnel as an accident occurs.
In the event of an accident the time needed for first respondents to come to the accident scene is inversely related to the chance of survival of the victim. That means, our service has a direct and meaningful impact on increasing both the chance of survival and consequent degree of recovery of motor vehicle crash victims.
What it does
CloseCall is a highly integrated mobile app and full stack web service that efficiently connects first responders to motor vehicle accident victims as an accident occurs. Traditional response in the event of an accident would involve the victim calling for emergency services themselves, or if they are incapable, a bystander/witness. The ability of this application to reach out to first responders as soon as possible dramatically improves the victim’s chance of survival and recovery. Often times, there may not even be witnesses to help out in this situation at the time of the event. Thus, CloseCall is a safety app that is ready to respond when no one else will. The mobile aspect of our application will be used by the driver as they are driving. A crash is detected monitoring the acceleration of the vehicle over time periods. Measuring the jolt (the degree of change in acceleration) is an effective indicator of a crash situation. Once a crash event has been triggered, a voice message will alert the driver that 911 will be contacted in 20 seconds. The user can easily disable the trigger in the event of false-positives by voicing “stop”. If no response is given, 911 and the nearest hospital will be notified of the accident. On the web service interface, hospitals can track the location of accidents on an integrated map. Information such as name, time/date of accident, GPS location, and shortest route to the scene can be easily displayed. Monitoring of this data in aggregate will not only allow for hospitals to dispatch appropriate emergency response vehicles quickly, but will also allow them to extract useful information. Clustering of accidents on the map may help to signify the degree of the accident-thus allowing for more effective allocation of medical resources. Additionally, date/time statistics may be collected over a long period of time to reveal trends such as which hospitals tend to be over-burdened.
A service that provides immediate response for individuals that get into car accidents. Mobile device will prompt user to confirm/deny whether or not they are in an accident. We used voice confirmation to accomplish this. No response will prompt a call to 911 as well as a text message to an emergency contact. Confirming your safety will cancel the call and reset. If accident were to be detected, information will be sent to hospitals that support Close Call. Hospitals will receive the longitude and latitude location of the accident as well as time of the accident and name of user. They can also track the shortest route to the scene of the accident.
How we built it
Our project is composed of two main components- the mobile app for the driver and the full stack web service for the hospitals. The mobile application was built using Android Studio. We used intents for calling, texting, initiating text-to-speech, and voice recording. We tracked real-time pinpoint-accurate location, created and applied an algorithm using Android’s built-in accelerometer to determine the threshold for crashes The web service component involved setting up an EC2 instance using AWS. The server would receive post messages from CloseCall app clients. The backend of the server was implemented using Express, Bootstrap, Mongoose (MongoDB), Handlebars templating, and arcGIS API integration. The front end was implemented using NodeJS and HTML.
Challenges we ran into
A major challenge was the learning curve for figuring out how arcGIS worked and how we could generate data in a form suitable for interacting with the ArcGIS API. Another challenge was figuring out how to send and receive POST requests between an Android mobile application and our AWS server. Additionally, adding intents like voice recognition and creating an algorithm for setting a threshold for determining a crash took some time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are really excited about this project because it has potential to provide a meaningful service to thousands of people in our campus, in our country, and to the rest of the world. In the course of 36 hours we were able to create an entire web application with client/server connection that successfully connected with mobile devices. Additionally, we created a really cool and interactive way to visualize a very important problem.
What we learned
Three out of four of our team members were first-time hackers. So this project was especially powerful because it showed us how much we can achieve when we set our hearts to it. This project was definitely difficult, but we worked well as a team and collaborated to quickly debug any issues. As a team, we learned how to integrate voice recognition/text-to-speech and automate calls and text messages in an Android app, create a web server, use AWS services, and send data between different platforms.
What's next for Close Call
One of the most exciting parts about our project is that there is so much more that we can do to make our idea better. Our next-step goal is to integrate Fitbit trackers with the CloseCall application so that information about heart-rate can be tracked by medical personnel as they travel to the site. Live location updates can better inform hospitals when the patient will arrive so that they will be better prepared to start treatments. Camera integration and report generation can be used to provide official documentation useful for insurance claims and investigations (in the case of a crime). Once we have a solid system, we hope to become a successful startup and publish our service to Google Play and