Inspiration

Pal Finder is a standalone Pebble Smartwatch app that helps students to find companions for accomplishing their personal and academic goals.

Over 28% high school students have either felt lonely or depressed in the last year. This is mainly because of them feeling detached from their peers and not having someone to speak with. Having someone to share their thoughts and learn new things will drastically improve every student's mental health.

Students are also having a hard time finding companions for activities like studying for a test or playing a sport during the time they need. That's why we as a team wanted to build a user friendly, non-intrusive solution to solve this problem during the Hackathon. Pebble is one of the best as well as the least intrusive smartwatches in the market. That's why we chose Pebble as our platform.

What it does

Load the PalFinder app on your Pebble smartwatch and choose your interest. Then walk around! If you run into someone with the same interest, the watch vibrates. This helps you meet people with similar interests and encourages face to face interaction.

We also built a website where your location and interest is plotted as a marker on google maps. This helps you pinpoint another person with a similar interest and walk towards them or form larger groups based on interest.

How we built it

We used the Pebble SDK to develop the app for Pebble Time watch. We programmed it using Javascript on CloudPebble. The app and the website are designed on Sketch and developed using HTML/CSS and jQuery. We utilized Firebase as our backend and utilized Google Maps API to build our Web based map interface. We have also started integrating Twilio's API for real time text messaging to provide location information to the user.

Challenges we ran into

Having designed and build for high resolution, large screen devices; It took us some time to adapt to Pebble's concise display and related UX elements. We wanted to build a companion mobile app but after accessing its usability, we decided to build a powerful standalone app. Testing the app has been a challenge and pebble's proprietary image format took some time to get used to.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

We came with 4 different ideas for the Hackathon. We then debated, assessed and decided to work on two projects that we felt are worth pursuing. We are proud of our accomplishments designing, building and validating our projects in just two days. All of us worked on a platform not familiar for us and this helped us to learn new concepts. We had fun doing this.

What we learned

Designing and programming for Pebble. Working with a diverse team helped us compliment our skill sets. This has also been a great team building exercise.

What's next for Pal Finder

Enhancing the app features like allowing users to choose multiple interests and a custom radius. Improving the UI/UX of the app. We also plan to integrate various feature rich APIs to offer more features. We want Pal Finder to be an enabling tool for students to easily find companions to do what they like.

Demo

If you want to try it out, you can find the CloudPebble code at https://github.com/nikintharan/PF and the code for the website at https://github.com/soundninja/palfinder. The finished website is at http://www.palfinder.club

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