We were inspired to make this project because of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that there existed no good API/covid bot that you could talk with — we wanted to let people who were not good with tech/disabled people to be able to get reliable Covid information, by both voice and text.
What it does
Hermit is a voice-activated assistant that provides information for those who can’t easily access it, providing Covid stats, tips, news, a self-diagnostic, vaccine info, and more!
How we built it
We built this bot out of using two things: Voiceflow and our own self-hosted JSON API. Voiceflow would interact with the user as a chatbot, and allow the user to input text/voice, while speaking and displaying its reply. The JSON API is used to store the Covid stats, and the latest news — the Covid bot would pull the info from the API when the user requests it.
Challenges we ran into
Two big challenges we ran into were 1) The API wouldn't work — we originally tried hosting it on one of our PC's, but the router/port forwarding gave us issues, so we had to set up a server and host it on there. 2) Voiceflow, the platform we were using, coincidentally went down for maintenance halfway through the hackathon, forcing us to continue the next morning.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're really proud of how far the bot has come in this short period of time — we're even more proud of the fact that we managed to get our self-hosted API to work; it was giving us so much issues.
What we learned
We learned how to use Voiceflow to make a functioning text+voice chatbot, and we also learned how to host your own JSON API.
What's next for Hermit
In the future, we plan to add more features to Hermit as the Covid pandemic continues on — we will modify the bot to match the ever changing state of the pandemic.