After hearing that Disney had an API that could allow us to access the Marvel comics database, we knew that we wanted to do something with that API. We brainstormed several ideas, but most of them were centered on helping children, which eventually became the focus of our project.

What it does

This is a web app that allows children to interact with their favorite superheros, mainly Black Widow. They can chat with Black Widow and ask her questions, such as to tell them a joke or to list which comics she can be found in.

How we built it

We built it using Microsoft's LUIS API and Disney's Marvel Comics API. The LUIS API allowed for us to create a responsive chat box that answered a certain way in response to specific questions using intents and entities. The Marvel Comics API allowed for us to access the database of all the comics, and display the comics that are relevant to the superhero that is being talked to.

Challenges we ran into

The back end was surprisingly not as hard as expected (although definitely not easy). The front end proved to be a huge challenge. We spent several hours debugging our web app after the back end was complete, especially on trying to get the chat box to develop a scroll bar when there were a lot of messages instead of expanding and causing the page to lengthen.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud to have built a fairly responsive chat bot that can respond to basic questions, thanks to Microsoft's LUIS and Disney's Marvel Comics API. Also, we all built our first web app, and this was Bhargav's and Vikkram's first hackathon.

What we learned

Bhargav and Vikkram are two grad students with a lot more CS experience than Chris and Michelle, so it was decided that Bhargav and Vikkram would mainly focus on backend and Chris and Michelle would work on front-end, since Michelle had a little experience with HTML/CSS. Michelle learned the basics of Javascript, and further developed her understanding of how HTML/CSS work together, and Chris was introduced to a whole new side programming. Bhargav and Vikkram further developed their skills in Javascript and PHP as they tried to work the API's into the code.

What's next for Marvel Character Chat Box

In the future, we would like to be able to program chat boxes for all of the Marvel superheros that are listed on the front page. More importantly, we would like these chat boxes to be able to interact with the kids on a more personal level, by being able to respond properly based on detected sentiment (possibly using Microsoft's Text Analysis API). In addition, we would love to turn this app into an educational one where children can develop academically and learn from their idols.

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