Inspired by personal experience of commonly getting separated in groups and knowing how inconvenient and sometimes dangerous it can be, we aimed to create an application that kept people together. We were inspired by how interlinked and connected we are today by our devices and sought to address social issues while using the advancements in decentralized compute and communication. We also wanted to build a user experience that is unique and can be built upon with further iterations and implementations.
What it does
Huddle employs mesh networking capability to maintain a decentralized network among a small group of people, but can be scaled to many users. By having a mesh network of mobile devices, Huddle manages the proximity of its users. When a user is disconnected, Huddle notifies all of the devices on its network, thereby raising awareness, should someone lose their way.
The best use-case for Huddle is in remote areas where cell-phone signals are unreliable and managing a group can be cumbersome. In a hiking scenario, should a unlucky hiker choose the wrong path or be left behind, Huddle will reduce risks and keep the team together.
How we built it
Huddle is an Android app built with the RightMesh API. With many cups of coffee, teamwork, brainstorming, help from mentors, team-building exercises, and hours in front of a screen, we produced our first Android app.
Challenges we ran into
Like most hackathons, our first challenge was deciding on an idea to proceed with. We employed the use of various collaborative and brainstorming techniques, approached various mentors for their input, and eventually we decided on this scalable idea.
As mentioned, none of us developed an Android environment before, so we had a large learning curve to get our environment set-up, developing small applications, and eventually building the app you see today.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
One of our goals was to be able to develop a completed product at the end. Nothing feels better than writing this paragraph after nearly 24 hours of non-stop hacking.
Once again, developing a rather complete Android app without any developer experience was a monumental achievement for us. Learning and stumbling as we go in a hackathon was a unique experience and we are really happy we attended this event, no matter how sleepy this post may seem.
What we learned
One of the ideas that we gained through this process was organizing and running a rather tightly-knit developing cycle. We gained many skills in both user experience, learning how the Android environment works, and how we make ourselves and our product adaptable to change. Many design changes occured, and it was great to see that changes were still what we wanted and what we wanted to develop.
Aside from the desk experience, we also saw many ideas from other people, different ways of tackling similar problems, and we hope to build upon these ideas in the future.
What's next for Huddle
We would like to build upon Huddle and explore different ways of using the mesh networking technology to bring people together in meaningful ways, such as social games, getting to know new people close by, and facilitating unique ways of tackling old problems without centralized internet and compute.