The intial inspiration came from a counselor who stood up at the info session and explained how helped many young people via the Grindr app and text messaging. On his profile picture he had "Ask me about sexual health information". He later explained that sometimes he has to balance 3 phones just to keep up with the message and that it would great to have a tool to help with that. I thought the idea was ok at the time but chose to join another team. Then I woke up one morning with an idea that would not leave me. "This guy is saving lives and slowing down the spread of STI's and STD's " And that is awesome!!How could he connect to multiple users on device? How could he connect with multiple users on multiple platforms on one device? How does he know all the information that he needs to know? How does he access this information? Does he ever get tired of answering the same question over and over? Can his time be used more efficiently? How does he get the resources he needs to the right people? How much does he know about the person in order to give them relevant information? How does the person stay private and comfortable to ask the questions? How does he reconnect with users and alert them- or inform them of valuable information? And how can we make this cool enough that it takes the taboo out of chatting about Sexual Health. Frankly, is there a better way. Needless to say, thought would not leave my head. And that is how HeyBud came about.
What it does
HeyBud is "non-judgmental and chill" hybrid (AI and Human powered) chat bot to answer sexually related questions, present users with access to health-related resources and automate complex on-boarding paperwork/processes required for health treatment.
--To the user it is a familiar chat application that happens to know a lot about sexual information.
-- To a counselor it is so much more: behind the scenes - when the chatbot can not answer a question or if a "red flag" is raised during the conversation- the conversation is automatically rerouted to a counselor who fits the skillset of what is needed to help the individuals.
-- Additionally the counselor is connected to valuable ESRI and Grindr resources to better understand the person and provide them valuable visual feedback.
How I built it
Sweat, Prayers and Tears Unfortunately, we lost some team members due to day-to-day work overload and the immensity of this project. Therefore, Savalas had to build the back-end systems (on AWS Serverless, PHP, MySQL and Firebase) and the client apps (iOS, Facebook Messenger). Savalas first pitched a slide presentation to his mentors to get their buy-ins. He then gathered relevant information to test the project feasibility. He then put together the architecture with designs. And the building began. With Prayers Savalas reached out to his friend Eddie to have him put together a video vision that would explain how HeyBud is "the friend you always had"
Challenges I ran into
-- We lost team members -- We also are trying out cutting edge technology like serverless and SpeechKit. -- The area is so new to us that it was somewhat challenging to gather information from mentors. Fortunately, they were great to work with and review our script and directions on multiple occasions.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Proud to see the vision to come into fruition. Very proud of the product because we believe that we can save multiple live and livelihoods with HeyBud. We tested multiple times (concept and app with various mellinials)
What I learned
What's next for HeyBud
Lots to Share via Slides