With the advent of modern smartphones, tablets, and wearable technologies, one can nearly forget that the dependence that so many have on technology is not the norm. Even in 2015, a massive portion of the country lives without a smartphone; something that might seem ridiculous to the average person at a hackathon. According to the Pew Research Centre, 40% of Americans still live their daily lives without these devices.

These people, as a result, miss out on the many things that modern technology offers us. Google Maps, Phone alarms, and instantaneous knowledge are just a few things that smartphones allow us that are inaccessible to many people. However, we saw this unfortunate reality as an opportunity.

What it does

Even though only 60% of people own a smartphone, as many as 90% own any kind of phone at all. Eva bridges this gap between the smart phone and the 'dumb' phone, as a personal assistant that works anywhere, with any phone, and without the need for mobile data or wifi. It provides any person with the ability to get directions, translate foreign languages, and even provides information on a person or place with only access to a so-called 'dumb phone'.

How we built it

Eva is built with node.js, and integrates with many different web APIs, frameworks, and platforms, including Bluemix, Heroku, OpenShift, Twilio, WolframAlpha, Google Maps, and others. It functions as a centralized server which reaches out to different providers of information whenever a user requests it, and forwards that data over sms.

Challenges I ran into

Every new feature was a challenge. Both of our team members had never extensively used any type of Javascript before, and so the entire project served as a learning experience. The use of the many different APIs and services only served to complicate the matter, as no two endpoints were quite alike. However, we did manage to overcome the majority of these obstacles in order to produce a working product.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We both are extremely pleased with the result of our efforts in regards to the merging of so many various APIs into one continuous product. Utilizing such a variety of services meant that every new feature was a completely unique experience that presented its own challenges, unique from the last.

What We learned

It quickly became abundantly clear to both of us how much more difficult it becomes to work with code when it is both large in size and unfamiliar.

What's next for Eva

Eva will most likely be developed until stable, and kept online for public use into the foreseeable future.

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