They say social media connects people, but does it really? It puts them in contact, but the contact is segregated from real-life interaction. With Common Interests, we wanted to get people talking to each other in person again. Simply pull up the app and instantly find common ground with whoever's in front of you. Find out what you both like, what friends you have in common, and more in seconds. Then you ca get links to their social accounts with just a tap, so you can meet up again.
With Common Interests, social media is no longer a separate place full of people you kind of know, but rather a conduit for genuine human connection.
What it does
When you load up Common Interests, you connect your Facebook account, and then use your camera to hover over any person to capture their face. Once you do this, their face is put through Amazon Web Services' facial recognition API, which then links to the Facebook API and pulls their name and common things between your profile and the other person's profile. It brings up mutual friends, common likes, common schools (if applicable), etc.. It then takes this information, and using AR technology overlays it next to the person's face. Along with their info, any connected social accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) appear as links just below their details.
This eliminates the need for proprietary scannable codes, and turns your face into your social identifier.
With any social app, privacy is very important, so with Common Interests, you can always choose which information shows when your face is captured, and if you want no info to come up, that's also an option. You can also configure the app so that your info can only be viewed if you are also scanning the person scanning you, so no worries about sneak shots getting all your details.
How we built it
We built Common Interests through a lot of research, passion, and trial and error. Using Facebook's API, AWS API, Android Studio, and Adobe Illustrator, we made our project become a reality.
Challenges we ran into
Facebook's API is incredibly finicky, which lead us into so many issues pulling information. Amazon's Web Services were a bit better, but have no official Android support for facial recognition, so we had to transform some code to get it working.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Getting facial recognition working was incredibly difficult, but so rewarding when it all fell into place. Correctly configuring Amazon Web Services on the coding side of things was definitely another definite win.
All in all, we felt truly proud of being able to have a complex idea, pursue it, troubleshoot issues with it, and bring it to life.
What we learned
We definitely learned more about Java, developing on Android, proper Illustrator techniques, configuring proper permissions, and configuring communication between services and APIs. We also learned how to work together in a development team, and put everyone's skills to good use.
What's next for Common Interests
Common Interests could turn into a couple of things. It could turn into an independent social network, where you can only add people you've met in person, and be renamed Bridge – bridging the gap between social media and social interaction. It could be purchased by Facebook and integrated into their apps on iOS and Android. Or, it could be an award winning project at a hackathon. With Common Interests, the sky's the limit.