Most children know how to operate an iPad, but do they know how to manage their own emotions? Alexa is the perfect platform for technology that not only informs kids about the external world, but helps them develop their internal world. With its voice UI, there's no distracting screens to get in the way of the experience. Focus successfully answers a crazy question, how could you possibly get a five year old to meditate? Turn it into a game that she/he can play with their friends.
What it does
It's a simple listening game that gets kids into a meditative state without feeling like they're meditating.
How I built it
Used resources on Github to get the framework for an audio skill. Once that was in place and working I recorded the audio for all the levels (voice, background tracks, gongs, bells). Then added background music and edited them in garage band. Then uploaded all the audio files to sound cloud and referenced them in the audio assets folder.
Challenges I ran into
Developing with audio is much harder than I thought. Getting the code working was tricky and the recording of the audio was laborious (file formats, good quality, background music, recording gongs, etc.)
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
It works! I also tested it on a friend's five year old and he loved it! After the first demo he challenged me to play with him on level 3 (end of demo video). Also a surprise, his Dad said he noticed his son was much calmer than normal throughout the rest of the day.
What I learned
That Alex isn't just about her beautiful robotic voice. The audio component adds an entirely new dimension to the experience. It's perfect for things like meditation that you don't want to fiddle with a phone while you're using the application - it's really the perfect user experience.
What's next for Focus
Video component (expanding/contracting sphere), easier navigation between levels, get it in the hands of schools and improve functionality/levels based on user feedback!