Our Focus was based on three simple goals. 1: Make something that helps people 2: Work with a new tool/language in which we previously hadn't 3: Complete what we started
On those points, the programming goal that Auto-Owners Insurance provided a perfect fit. From that Helping Hand was born.
What it does
Our program is a simple, lightweight application that allows bosses, managers, and virtually everyone working in any emergency relief field to quickly and efficiently track their coworkers and assist them, or others, in need. All that is required is an affordable android/ios device that has location capabilities.
Example: An Earthquake occurs within the United states and emergency relief forces are deployed to assist those in need. A dispatcher then notices a large amount of calls from a specific area. He/She then uses Helping Hand to locate the closest available relief worker(s) to report to the scene
Some time Later the devastated area seems to have been checked and all affected have been accounted for. However, one worker has not appeared to have moved for quite a long time on the map. A notification would then be sent to him/her to make sure they are OK. If no response is given a dispatcher could direct the next closest relief worker(s) to their location. This would help to stop/prevent further injury or disaster.
You may be asking why Helping Hands? We developed this application specifically for emergency situations and the companies primarily working in these fields. Our simple UI and layout is designed for easy and quick use in emergency situations where decisions and actions happen fast. Plus, the devices used for location tracking would be provided and only used on work hours, i.e. employees personal lives will not be changed.
How we built it
note, we have a functioning database that was unable to communicate with our website. Also, the team member in charge of the database had to leave early and was the only one who knew the PHP language
Challenges we ran into
Rose, Jakob and I all came from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and have taken many of our computer science courses together, meaning we each have skill sets based in back-end development, but somewhat lack in front-end knowledge . This urged us to want to learn something new, especially involving the front-end. Originally, our intention was to make a complete web app involving a Google API, but our lack of front-end knowledge stunted our progress almost immediately. Luckily, a late joining member of our team, Sam, introduced to his knowledge of front-end and allowed us to regain our confidence and pick up where we left off with plenty of time to design!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to accomplish the goals we set out in accomplishing. We truly made an application that can benefit people in many ways. We worked in an almost completely different environment than we were used to and picked up many skills and traits along the way in terms of languages, design, and using front-end tools. Lastly, we were able finish the app we set out to do and it fully works.
What we learned
We, as a team, have learned that there is so much more still out there to be exposed to in terms of computer science. This experience gave a great chance to get our feet wet in multiple environments and let us find our string suits and what we need to work on.
What's next for Helping Hand
If the judges are just as passionate about this application, as we are, then it may turn more from a demonstration of its capability into something many emergency relief companies may have in their tool belt.