Deeply immersive games are amazing for their ability to draw players into another world, something Virtual Reality is taking even further. The downside to immersing your senses in a game is a serious lack of awareness of potential dangers in your surroundings.

What it does

ImmerseAlert makes it easier to both immerse yourself in a game AND not be oblivious to fires, carbon monoxide, and home invasions. This software links to a user's Nest Protect smoke/CO detectors and Nest Cam security cameras to aggressively alert users to danger. IA forces an alert to the front through even full-screen applications in combination with an audible alarm forced to max volume to jolt players out of their games and into reality as quickly as possible. Different alert messages are displayed depending on the cause.

How I built it

The core software is a multi-threaded Windows Forms application written in C#. Nest integration is accomplished though the Nest REST API. Alerts are forced on top of full-screen applications on an interval to ensure alerts are not missed or covered by games in life-threatening situations. GUI was intentionally left a bit ugly to avoid confusion with a video game GUI. Audio was created with Linux Multimedia Studio.

Challenges I ran into

Nest's sometimes inconsistent and confusing developer documentation was probably the greatest challenge. The headache from hearing my incredibly annoying alarm for several hours didn't help. Information about forcing windows above everything was often a dead-end as, in most other cases, that would be a terrible design and is frowned upon. Finding a balance between aggressively pushing the alert, preventing accidental alert cancellation, and being able to cancel alerts once acknowledged was also a challenge..

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Creating something that could save lives right now if someone actually used it is what I'm most proud of. This is also the most complete project I've put together at a hackathon so far.

What I learned

Far more about HTTP redirection than I ever wanted too (thanks Nest API). Advanced Windows Forms development. Designing for intentional unpleasantness and annoyance where necessary.

What's next for ImmerseAlert

Everything I wrote for ImmerseAlert is open-source, free, and will stay that way. Life-saving-anything should be free. I'd like someone to fork it as I won't normally have much time for this in the foreseeable future.

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