Mental health is a widespread problem, and there are not often enough resources to effectively combat it. Therapists and other psychiatric services, while helpful, have difficulty with delivering personalized, focused care to a large number of patients.
We want to provide another resource that will not only help some more people have the comfort and availability of a voice to talk to at all times but also assist professional caretakers' efforts in some way.
What it does
Nightly Thoughts walks the user through a few preset questions each night, allowing them to simply explore their own thoughts, reflect, and unwind. At the same time, this data is collected and synthesized overtime to provide the individual's doctor or therapist more comprehensive, personalized data about their patient's mental health development in between visits.
How we built it
We utilized AWS Lambda along with the Alexa Skills SDK Service.
Challenges we ran into
We initially wanted to utilize Alexa to collect a larger amount of data, but it did not have the ability to collect truly free form dialog from users. We worked around this by carefully designing a select few questions that would help in jogging patients' memory and providing insights when the data is analyzed in the future.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the fact that we found a workaround with Alexa's current functions by playing a lengthy silent audio clip in order for the user, after being encouraged to get anything off of their chest, to feel as if they were still "talking" to Alexa. This structure also came with the added benefits of these more frank statements being technically "off the record" and allowing the current Alexa Skill Session to stay open for further commands.
What we learned
We learned how to utilize and design Alexa skills, connect with Lambda, and work with and find advantages of various AWS Cloud Computing Services.
We also learned that the Echo can play music at an impressively loud level
What's next for Daily Thoughts
We hope to develop a front end system that can organize the data for users' doctors to explore. We also hope to integrate data analysis functionalities to display potentially valuable insights.
Importantly, we hope to adapt this this design to other smart home products and web applications to broaden accessibility.