Inspiration

My grandfather suffers from dementia, my grandmother is getting more blind every day, and they both have vertigo. For these reasons my grandparents need constant care, unfortunately I have working parents who aren't able to stay at home with them. And since I am still an undergrad studying in Boston I can't help them either. Here is where Alexa comes in. This project (my Mother’s Day present) will hopefully become a well-deserved reprieve for my mother who is constantly stressed about her parents and their well-being.

What it does

ElderlyAlexa is an Alexa skill that acts as an interface between elderly people (my grandparents) and their loved ones (my mother) using Alexa. Elderly people will ask Alexa what medication they still must take and what they have already taken. When asked if they have already taken their medication Alexa triggers an AWS Lambda event that sends their answer in an email to their loved ones. From there the loved ones can use the iOS app to change the next item on the list they need to do, or call them reminding them to take their medication. If the loved ones don't receive an email, they know something is wrong and can chat with other family members in a chat room expressing their concerns.

How I built it

I built the project using AWS (DynamoDB, Lambda, & SES), Node JavaScript for the Alexa code, Swift for the iOS app, and PubNub APIs for the chat room.

Challenges I ran into

Getting PubNub’s API to work with the VPC and not mess up Alexa, getting push notifications to work to Alexa, and getting the iOS app and Alexa to not mess up the same database.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud that this project is usable. That today when my grandparents are home alone, my mother can check up on her parents from her office. I am proud that my mother can be a little less tense because she isn't so worried about my grandparents.

What I learned

Not a whole lot of documentation for Alexa and there are still many features yet to be implemented. As well as many features that can be developed. Unfortunately, the ability of Alexa is still limited in many ways.

What's next for Elderly-Alexa

What's next: flushing out the push notification system, making the chat features more user-friendly, and having reminders for the list to people with the iOS app.

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