We were inspired by learning about the environmental impact of data centers. After noticing that most current solutions revolve around improving the data centers themselves, we felt that another approach would be to educate the people who create the data. Thus, our goal is to spread awareness about the physical consequences of people's digital actions in order to encourage people to reduce their online presence. We hope to reach people who are eager to be more eco-friendly, but don't necessarily know about the potential improvements to be made in this sector.
What it does
The core of our project is a web application. Intending to educate the public, this website contains extensive information about different aspects of the environmental issue surrounding our digital lives. The home page is styled like a newspaper to inform and we have another page of sources to back up our information. The Watson Bot page allows users to interact with a Watson Assistant, connected via the ibm-watson API. It is trained to answer basic questions about data and its environmental impact. Finally, we have a page from which you can create an account for and access our chrome extension.
Our chrome extension, MyDigitalFootprint aims to increase its user's consciousness about their data consumption. It has three tabs:
1) Carbon emission statistics about common actions on the current page (think sending a tweet) 2) Data usage tracking on a weekly basis 3) Profile Page 4) Chat Box with Watson Assistant
How I built it
The chrome extension was created using React, and is connected to a Microsoft Azure database. We use the database to pull information about the current website to display facts for the user as they navigate online. It is connected using our node.js backend. It is also connected to the ibm cloud Watson assistant.
Challenges I ran into
Connecting the Watson API was extremely challenging. We had a lot of issues communicating between the front and back ends of our application. A lot of time went into debugging this component, so other aspects like our website UI and the complexity of the assistant suffered as a result.
Connecting to Azure was also challenging. Luckily, we already had a node.js backend from the website component, so we were able to eventually achieve this.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of and What We Learned
Kristyn: This was actually my first hackathon, first time making a Chrome extension, and first time using Azure, so I think we did a great job given the time limitations. Teyva: I've never used node.js before, so setting up the backend was quite challenging. I'm proud of that and the overall intent of the website!
What's next for Digital Carbon Footprint
-successfully populate the chat bot on the front end from the backend -train the chat bot to be more advance -dynamically populate the data usage stats on the extension -improve our statistics and sources to be more abundant -create a login from our website for the chat bot