Inspiration

Everyone wants to feel safe, especially on their own campus. And one way to do that is to not be alone. Sexual harassment has become a rising issue both inside and outside of school campuses, and our team gathered to generate a technology aiming to promote personal safety on campus.

What it does

Lantern is a mobile app which helps students who are out late at night find a walking buddy to escort them home safely.

How we built it

Through the free and open source toolchain Expo which uses JavaScript to help build native iOS and Android projects combined with Google's mobile platform Firebase, we were able to create a demo version of Lantern with the following features:

  • a map with the user's current location,
  • potential walking buddies who appear as pins on the map and each have a profile (name, age, gender),
  • in-app messaging to contact them,
  • and a check-in system when the user has safely reached his or her destination.

Challenges we ran into

As first-time hackathoners with very little prior experience with app development, we had difficulties seamlessly blending in all the functionalities. Specifically, we faced several technical challenges regarding Firebase.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our final product!

What we learned

Building an app is hard.

What's next for Lantern

In the future, we hope to further develop our app to be able to add a trusted contacts tab who are alerted when the user begins his or her journey, and if the user does not respond to a periodic prompt, Lantern alerts the contacts. By restricting registration to .edu email addresses, we will be able to ensure that only students are using our app, reducing the risk of exploitation of the app for malicious purposes.

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