We would like to ask you a question: can you remember all of the steps for what to do if somebody suffers a sudden cardiac arrest right next to you?
Emergency! was inspired by the worrying prevalence of negative outcomes in emergency situations within our society. Even in the personal lives of our team members, we hear about people who suffer injury or even death because the people surrounding an emergency situation do not know how to act when a threat suddenly appears. This unfortunate norm has been created by societal and socio-economic barriers to First Aid and Emergency education. We firmly believe that all members of society should have access to a tool which easily guides them through an emergency situation—so we built it.
What it does
Emergency! is a mobile Android app which serves interactive, step-by-step instructions on what to do in an emergency situation. If a person believes that they have found a Cardiac Arrest victim for example, they can select the Cardiac Arrest option in our app. This will provide them with comprehensive yet easy to understand instructions on what to do. In the case of Cardiac Arrest, the app will instruct the user to check the safety of the area before approaching the victim. From there, it instructs the person on how to help, even if they lack previous formal training.
Our app features additional innovative features such as 3D modelling and animation to show the first responder exactly how to act or help. For example, if the user doesn't know how to locate the correct place to apply chest compressions during CPR, the app can display a 3D animation on where to place your hands and fingers to landmark a victim's chest. Virtual features like these are missing from any sort of application available today, and we believe that educational and concise demonstrations using modelling can truly impact the outcomes of emergency situations.
Users can also call for emergency services from the app, or access a metronome to help them keep tempo during chest compressions. Our current version of the app contains 2 fully completed emergency tutorials: Cardiac Arrest and Choking. We would highly recommend that you download and try our app using the GitHub link provided below! We have provided an .apk file for Android devices as well as a PC Build version.
How we built it
Emergency! was built using Unity 2019.4.13 and primarily the C# language. Unity enables us to use 3D modelling and animation to create unique features for our app (such as the Landmarking tutorial mentioned above).
We began development by designing the UI of the app on Figma. This gave us a clear view on how we wanted our app to look and behave. From there, we separated our team into Hack and Policy, and the hackers began work on Unity. We used the studio to build UI, buttons, and animation in the front-end. C# was used to write scripts which enable functionality in the back-end. Once completed, the app was packaged in an .apk, and the project files were pushed to GitHub.
Challenges we ran into
Building our app came with many challenges. Before MERGE, we were completely new to animation in Unity and app development! Our hack members needed to learn this on the spot to realize our vision for our app. We also ran into bugs with button linking and scripting errors. The largest issue we had to fix was with screen and Aspect Ratio scaling for our app. The app used to cut out if your device's screen was too small, but we managed to make it so the app scales to any screen size. Not to mention, our team has never participated in any type of policython before! Our important Policy members created a policy brief for the first time during this Hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are incredibly proud of our Hack and Policy members which came together to create a thorough and complete app in less than 36 hours! With no previous experience in App Dev, creating this entire project was truly a team effort. We surprised ourselves with features that we weren't sure we could build, such as 3D animations and tutorials. We are proud that we realized our vision with few compromises, using 3D animation and Unity.
What we learned
We learned countless valuable skills for app development and Unity over the course of this event. Additionally, we learned so much about First Aid, Emergency Response, and how to accurately inform citizens. We would like to extend our thanks to our mentors who guided us through the development process: without them, we would have surely missed important details. We also learned many useful tips on how to write amazing policy briefs. For that, we would like the thank the organizers and judges of MERGE 2021!
What's next for Emergency! for MERGE 2021
The future potential for Emergency! is massive. We believe that our app could become a staple app which everyone has installed on their phone, and keeps in their back pocket in case they run into an emergency. We want to expand our app to include many more emergency tutorials, such as instructions for how to deal with a fire (guides user to determine what kind of fire it is, then provides accurate instructions) and other types of emergency procedures. This app should not be limited to just First Aid instructions, as its potential scope could expand much further.
We also hope to add useful geolocation features in the future. For example, the app could use your device's GPS to determine where you are in the world, and show you information that is accurate for you. For example, if the app detects that you are in the UK, it would instruct you to call 999 instead of 911. These features would be unique to our app and improve functionality for Emergency! users worldwide.
On behalf of the Emergency! team, thank you to the organizers and judges of MERGE 2021! You have created a truly unforgettable experience for all the hackers and policy writers out there. For some members on our team, this was our first hackathon! We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in a unique event like this.
Remember to help others, stay calm, and most importantly, stay safe.