During the pandemic, a lot of online communities like LifeAt.io and Study Stream have surfaced for students studying in the pandemic. Needless to say, they have become quite popular over the past few months and going viral on TikTok. As students and recent grads, we understand why working with your peers boosts our productivity. Although these platforms are very helpful, there isn't a platform for students to create private study sessions specifically for their peers that also prioritize their mental well-being together.
What it does
Orbis is an online community for users to create public and private study sessions to encourage interactivity and productivity all at the same time. Within these sessions, users can activate the Pomodoro timer to prioritize breaks with their peers. During such breaks, users can access the motivation corner, where they can scroll through inspirational study content instead of scrolling through social media's which will lead to procrastination.
How we built it
Front-end: React, HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap was used to build the front-end of the application. WebRTC was used for Peer to Peer video connections.
Back-end: MongoDB, NodeJS, and ExpressJS were used for the back end. Socket.io was used for maintaining chat rooms.
Challenges we ran into
While we faced several challenges (such as overlapping flex layouts and connecting the different elements of the project together). Dealing with cross origin request errors when sending request from the react front-end to the node js backend Figuring how to authenticate websocket connections Integrating WebRTC with React in the front-end Creating multiple chat rooms that users can sign into
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The team is proud of creating a solution for a problem we know all too well. With our own experiences of dealing with online school, Orbis is the solution we felt we needed when it came to the year 2020.
We are especially proud of integrating the video call feature in such a short amount of time. None of our team members have ever integrated a feature like this, so we needed to find as many resources as possible that would help us with this. We were initially unsure if we would be able to integrate this feature in such a short amount of time but after a lot of Google searching and debugging, we were finally able to integrate the video call feature from the front-end and back-end.
Lastly, we are proud of how we worked as a team. We met just this weekend but each one of us had our different strengths which we used to build this project. In the end, not only do we have our project to show for what we completed this weekend but we also have our friendship to show for the amazing time that we had.
What we learned
We learned about the power of Web Sockets, the framework React (for a lot of our team members), and collaboration between back end and front end developers.
What's next for Orbis
Orbis has many potential routes for the future! As of now, the features that come with the paid plan are under development. These features include integrating music, customizing the Pomodoro timers, and more.
We would also love to expand and foster the Orbis community. Creating a social media integration where users can make productivity focused content and share room links will allow for students to meet more people outside of their peer group and connect with other like minded students.