Due to Rachael's struggles in finding quotes for an assignment, and the fact that the problem we are solving is actually very wide spread in the educational community, we decided to work on a unique solution that is simple to interact with.
What it does
In short, when the user asks Alexa to find a quote, it analyzes the context of the quote, looks through a database to formulate a list of matches, and then returns the best match.
How we built it
We started by brainstorming for as many ideas as possible for all 4 tracks, and all challenges. After a couple of hours of pitching and writing down ideas, we decided to stop and start discussing them. We talked about every one of them, thinking of ways each can be implemented, and the impact it would have for potential users. At the end, our eyes were drawn to 'Quote Bound', because of how perfectly it fit into the Educational track, and since Rachael was flipping through a book, struggling to find the quote she was looking for, we saw the potential and real life application of this idea!
Challenges we ran into
For our technical difficulties, right from the start, we ran into problems with Cloud9, as sharing wouldn't work. None of us could see the file directory that we had created. However, that issue got resolved pretty quickly. The biggest problem was getting Alexa to stay connected to the WiFi as it would periodically disconnect.
While making our hack, we all had a learning curve, as none of us had done anything with Alexa skills previously, so we struggled with configuring the communications between Alexa, Lambda, and DynamoDb.
Apart from all that, all of us practiced clean code, which was really great to work with.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Finally getting the right communication between Alexa, Lambda, and DynamoDb had all of us excited and relieved. We're proud of the architectural structure of our database and our ability to solve a prevalent real-life day-to-day problem, helping students around the world.
What we learned
We learned how to create an Alexa skill and then upload it to the Echo Dot to be used in the real world. Along with this, we learned how to use Lambda to communicate between the Alexa skill and a DynamoDb.
What's next for Quote Bound
To expand our range of books, we plan on working with Amazon to implement their database and analyze their eBook collection.