Our inspiration

We were inspired by the NSBE Black Hacks Challenge and the TD Financial Literacy challenge prompts to create the project we are presenting today. Though some may see hair as simply strands that grow out of your head, it is an integral part of Black culture and identity. For centuries, the Black community has faced discrimination just for having the courage to wear their natural hair. The Black community faces discrimination in the workplace, schools, fashion, media due to how we differ in ways such as but not limited to: Being suspended from school for wearing natural hair Being less likely to gain a job with natural hair Being expected to cater to classic Western/European standards of beauty Centuries of discrimination have led many members of the Black community unable to properly care for their hair… with Hairdentity, we’re taking you back to your roots, the roots of your hair!

What it does

Our application includes various features including a Texture-Scanner to determine the hair type of an individual. Users will take a picture of their hair with their webcam. It then utilizes machine learning to match the hair in the inputted photo with the most accurate classification in our database through AutoML Vision and Video Intelligence. The image database we utilize was created through Google Cloud Storage featuring 12 hair types ranging from 1A-4C, featuring over a hundred reference photos for more accurate results.

The next proponent of our app is a Hair Care Guide. It aims to provide the user with tips and tricks to take care of their roots, including some recommended products.

The integration of Cloud SQL allows the creation of a diverse and ever growing database of not only reference photos used in the Hair Type Scanner, but product recommendations as well. Next up users are led to our Style Centre, which uses augmented reality to bring a whole new experience to the world of hairstyling. Integration of AR Core and their augmented faces APIs allows us to give the users a variety of filters of possible hairstyles to try on. Style Centre is completed with tutorials for the featured hairstyles alongside styling advice.

A major aspect of Hairdentity is the encouragement to spotlight local Black-owned businesses and to support the local economy. We achieve this through Google Maps Platform’s geolocation APIs that make pinging the user with nearby vendors possible. It is convenient for users as it allows us to connect them to distance matrices and location details, all within our application.

How we built it

Through the use of CSS, Python 3, JavaScript, HTML, and system design, alongside Google Cloud applications such as SQL, Storage, AutoML Vision and Video Intelligence, AR Core, Text-To-Speech, and Maps, we were able to develop the product pitch we present today.

Challenges we ran into

A major challenge we faced came through the lack of access to GoogleCloud Credits. This hindered our team from being able to fully access tools which we had originally hoped to use. However, we learnt to then shift focus into expanding our ideas theoretically and work towards further developing previous skills we held in the aforementioned coding languages. We had difficulty organizing our ideas and time which caused a lot of stress. However, after talking the project out and planning a role for each team member, we were able to complete the presentation and most of our project.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are incredibly proud of programming a camera function through Javascript that allows the user to take pictures through their webcam right on our site. We also learned new CSS stylistic features to add on our HTML site, such as hover buttons. It provides a more user-friendly interface to our application.

What we learned

Besides learning how to code the webcam into our website as well as create hover buttons for the user to click to get to the next page, we have gained exposure to Google Cloud. We were able to find usage for many of its APIs in our own program, as it will potentially be present in the future generations of Hairdentity.

What's next for Hairdentity

We hope our project can inspire others to create similar projects. Although it seems like a small issue to the general public, hair is a significant part to the Black community’s identity. We want to inspire hackers to think large by focusing on the small aspects of our day-to-day lives. In this way, we can remove such unnecessary micro-aggressions and learn to embrace the mess within us. We also hope that this project can spread awareness regarding the importance of the lives of the Black community.

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