After going to Caltopia, internship fairs, and info sessions, we were bombarded with countless flyers. We found that it was inefficient to manually input all the information into Google Calendar. We also found physical flyers difficult to keep track of and wasteful as we would often forget about the flyers or throw them away. We wanted to design a program that effectively addresses all these issues.
What it does
Our project provides a streamlined system that automatically inputs event information from a photograph into Google Calendar.
How we built it
We used the Google Vision API to extract and upload text from photographs into Buckets in the Google Cloud Platform. We also utilized the Google Translate API to translate flyers written in foreign languages into English. Finally, we used the Google Calendar API to add our event to Google Calendar. Throughout the process, we had to create functions to convert the extracted text into formats that were compatible with the API’s we utilized. We also created a GUI to make our program more user-friendly.
Challenges we ran into
As first time hackers and coders, we found it challenging to use the Google API’s and to use our limited knowledge of programming to create a fully functional application. We would often have to experiment with multiple approaches in order for functions to work as we wanted them to. There was a lot of syntax that we didn’t fully understand which led to difficulties during implementation.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This was the first time we had to independently create a project from scratch, so we’re proud that we were able to actually see our ideas materialize into a functioning program. We’re also proud of how we incorporated machine learning into our program despite having no prior knowledge of the subject. Finally, we’re proud of how well we worked together as a team, playing to our strengths and weaknesses.
What we learned
The entire experience was a learning process. Very little of what we used was taught in our introductory computer science class. There was a lot of experimentation with new syntax and designing clean and organized code. Most importantly, we learned how to be patient as we persevered through the troubleshooting process.
What's next for DirectCal
We plan to broaden DirectCal's services into a document organization system. This would entail an ecosystem to organize notes, photos, and upcoming events. We intend to work with UC Berkeley to have clubs adopt our program--reducing paper waste.