Introduction

During this pandemic, many elderly people in our society are left at home struggling to support themselves, at great risk to go outside and get essential supplies such as medicine and groceries. However, there are a number of kind-hearted young people eager to volunteer to help them but have no way of contacting or finding them - until now. Monk is a platform that focuses on the wellbeing of senior citizens and other at-risk or struggle people during this health crisis, and also helps combat mental health issues related to loneliness during this crisis.

What it does

We created an iOS app that allows the elderly to find volunteers to help them and allows the volunteers to find senior citizens they can help. They can send requests, which after being accepted, create a connection between the two users and allows them to communicate in-app. There are five major screens:

Find

On this page, volunteers find a person that they can assist and senior citizens can find volunteers to help them.

Notifications

The notifications tab allows you to manage your requests that were sent TO you and sent BY you using our API.

Manage

This allows you to see all the people associated with you - if you're a volunteer, all the senior citizens that you're planning on helping, and if you're a senior citizen, all the volunteers that are currently planning on helping you.

Chatbot

The chatbot is designed to converse with the user. Meant to address mental health, the bot converses with you, and, if it detect signs of loneliness, the chatbot will assure the user that they are not alone and will always have someone with them and occasionally recommend some recreational activities to boost their spirits. Note: We built a fully functioning Python chatbot using Tensor-flow. This chatbot is included in our GitHub repository. However, due to last minute technical glitches, the chatbot could not be integrated into the iOS app, as a result of which we had to program static responses in the app for now. We hope to find a solution and integrate the chatbot into the app in the future.

Settings

This allows the user to edit their profile and sign out of their account in the app.

How We Built It

The iOS app was built using Swift and SwiftUI. The chatbot was built using Python and Tensor-flow. We set up the backend, which stores the user details and requests, using a REST API. We also used Firebase for authentication and storing user details. Note: Although we have set up the REST API, we felt that since we currently did not have a large amount of users, for now, for demo purposes, we have added demo data to the app. The API was ready, but we have not integrated it into the app, but we hope to do so in the near future.

Challenges we ran into

We faced a significant number of challenges during the development of Monk. First, we struggled to integrate the API into the app. Furthermore, we spent an extensive amount of time trying to integrate the highly advanced chatbot into the app, but were unable to, rather just transferring the static responses from the chatbot's Python to the application's Swift. Overall, learning how to integrate different aspects of our app into the final product was where our team learned the most and grew.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the fact that we were able to add such extended and diverse functionality to the app. Working across timezones was also an issue that we faced during development, but were able to overcome it. Our final product is functional, and now we have the ability to help our community.

What's next for Monk

First, we plan on extending our user base and launching Monk internationally. We also want to develop an Android app to make our product reach more people. Furthermore, we want to work on integrating the fully functioning chatbot into the app.

Note about the submission

We've given the entire folder associated with the .ipa as a .zip file. This zip folder contains the .ipa fill as well as the other files associated with it

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