Inspiration

We were inspired by the concept of a social good challenge. We wanted to build something that we felt actually would make an impact - not just met the requirements of a challenge. We thought about the numerous natural disasters that have occurred lately and also of the helpless feeling most people get when one occurs and you feel like there isn't much you can do to help. We wanted to create a way to bring people willing to volunteer their time and resources together with people who need them. Cutting out the uncomfortable feeling of anonymous donations or the bureaucracy of a large corporation, we are bringing people together to solve problems and create meaningful change.

What it does

Our application provides a simple interface in the form of a chat bot which those in need can go to in order to make connections with people who are able to help. With a conversation-like interaction, it is a simple process for anyone to input their criteria and receive meaningful responses. In addition, people who are willing to donate their time and resources will use the same chat bot to input their contact information, availability, and how they are able to help. With a simple categorization of needs, such as Finance, Transportation, Supplies, Shelter, and Rebuilding- it is easy to make connections between those affected by tragedies and those who are compelled to help. When our database recognizes a match between a volunteer's criteria and a person in need's criteria, both are alerted to make them aware of the match and are provided each-others contact information.

How we built it

We built out chatbot using DialogFlow and Google's Natural Language Processor API. Using DialogFlow's inline editor, we implemented JavaScript to create a conversation-like interface for users, and simple queries to our database. We utilized Firebase Realtime Database and query it in order to make connections between user information. We then used SendGrid's Web Application Email API to alert users when a match has been made. Lastly, we used JavaScript(with Bootstrap), HTML5, and CSS3 to implement a simple web application for the users to gather data about about application and to use the chat bot.

Challenges we ran into

We struggled to correctly connect our data between the chat bot, the database, and the various API's- occationally needing to re-evaluate our data flow. We also ran into many challenges with the asynchronous nature of JavaScript and often needed to use taboo programming solutions due to the limited time frame of our project's development.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud that we developed an application that will be able to have an impact on peoples lives and has meaningful uses outside the scope of the Hackathon. We discovered a gap in the system and found a solution for it- which feels like genuine entrepreneurship. We are also very satisfied with how much knowledge we are taking away from this Hackathon, just as we have for all previous Hackathons we have attended.

What we learned

We learned many new technologies, including Firebase, DialogFlow, and SendGrid. In addition, we developed our JavaScript skills much beyond what they were when we came. Lastly, we learned the value of pair programming- often finding mistake and discovering solutions that the initial programmer did not.

What's next for Quantum Connect

Considering the very scalable nature of this application, we have many things in mind for future development. First and foremost- we want to utilize the Google Translate API. This functionality will allow non-native English speakers to use our app and receive the necessary aid they require and are not limited by their knowledge of English. Also, we believe this application can be scaled to University Relations- including Police Service responding to non-urgent requests made by students, and finding the best availability for the requested services. Lastly, due to the limited time we had to develop this application, our program was mostly done with proof of concept in mind and we would hope to return and make our framework stronger and even more user friendly than it is now in order to reach the largest percentage of people possible.

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