One in three youth faces loneliness. This increases the risk of depression and social anxiety. Loneliness is as deadly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Depression and anxiety are more common in young adults than they have ever been. We were inspired to utilize software and technology to create a safe, non-threatening, effortless environment.
What it does
Buddy is an Amazon Alexa™ application that is free to use with the purpose of reducing anxiety and depressive feelings in young adults in a non-threatening, effortless environment. Any user that feels lonely, depressed, helpless, or hopeless can open Buddy and be instantly connected to a volunteer. Users list their interests when they first sign up, and are matched with the first available volunteer who has the most interests in common. The well-being of the user is measured before and after speaking with a volunteer, in addition to a general rating of the conversation. The matching algorithm takes this into account when choosing available volunteers. Users are able to connect with volunteers, who can also be in the same city and can lead to long lasting friendships
How we built it
We integrated the cloud communications company, Twilio, and the cloud computing capabilities of Amazon-Web-Services (AWS). Furthermore, we integrated Amazon Alexa™ and used it as our primary platform. We implemented the micro-services and docker architecture on the main application, and built a user-friendly website for volunteers to sign up using bootstrapped html and Node.js. The primary application was built using python, using Django as a framework for the database and frontend.
Challenges we Ran into
Us calling the wrong number, getting HACKED.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The matching system is fairly intuitive and does an excellent job of matching users with the best possible people to talk to
What we learned
Interfacing a myriad of systems and subsystems was an incredible and worthwhile learning experience
What's next for eBuddy
The next step is the integration of Google NLP (Natural Language Program).