One set of my grandparents lives in China, and the other here in the US, the two countries with the highest cases of the new Covid-19 virus. Although Covid-19 is harmful to all, the most susceptible population is by far the elderly and older generation.
However, if you know anyone older than 40, you know it's hard for them to adapt to new technologies, let alone install a new Coronavirus tracing app on their phone. I believe SMS is the most accessible medium of communication with the most vulnerable population. I also believe that in order for wide adoption to occur, in order to actually keep the older generation informed on new cases of Covid-19, accessibility and ease of use must be a priority.
Plus, I'm stuck at home attending online college because of the Coronavirus, so I got lots of time on my hands :P.
What it does
Coronalert is an SMS-based, "amber-alert" style app for alerting users of active Covid-19 cases in their area. The sign up interface is very simple and easy to use, and the alerts are meant to reflect the most up to date data at a frequency chosen by the user.
How I built it
I used a fusion Flask backend with a React frontend, with the Twilio API for handling SMS. I used the JHU CSSE Covid-19 dataset for data which is updated daily (https://github.com/CSSEGISandData/COVID-19).
Challenges I ran into
On the technical side, getting Flask and React to work together in the same repo was a challenge. I had to define my own make and build processes, and then getting this in turn to work with Heroku was very time consuming. However, I learned a lot!
On the design side, the challenge was making the interface as easy and simple as possible while delivering flexibility and value.
What's next for Coronalert
I'm gonna keep working on it!