Inspiration

Programmers are the laziest people in the world, so instead of having to actually walk all the way down to the cafeteria to check out what's being served, Alexa can simply tell you.

What it does

Ask Alexa what a certain station is serving at a certain cafeteria, and Alexa will tell you what they are serving right now (She knows what time of the day it is and automatically adjusts the output)

How I built it

Alexa is built using Javascript, and tested through amazon's development console. For a prototype, I downloaded the menus for the day and put it as a table into the code. Alexa identifies the meal of the day and which stations you want to know, then tells you what is currently being served.

Challenges I ran into

We have never done javascript in our lives before, let alone Alexa. I think one of the most challenging obstacle that we ran into is not being used to the errors that the service simulator is returning to us, causing a confusion.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are extremely proud of the fact that we created a working prototype that we can and hope to expand on in the future with no background knowledge in the language and Alexa at all. Furthermore, the amount of caffeine consumed this weekend might have just broke a Guinness World Record (quick someone call them)

What I learned

One of the most valuable lessons that we learned at this hackathon is the importance of being able to decipher code. Without much documentation provided, reading long code quickly becomes confusing. We learned by trial and error that the best way to understand a piece of code is to break it down and list all the functions and method headers first. Then take notes as to what each function does, and how they relate or use each other. Doing this allowed us to understand how to use Alexa and teach her new programs easily, as if we have been doing it for a while.

What's next for Hey Alexa, Whats for Dinner?

Currently, the prototype for our program requires manual download and update of the menus due to the lack of knowledge in document parsing for javascript within our group. In the future, we hope to have Alexa be automatically able to download and update the menu every single day, allowing the application to maintain itself.

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