Inspiration

R3cho was inspired by our own observations about how people never seem to toss their trash in the correct bin. Whether it be your coke cans, bannana peels, candy wrappers or any other common trash you can think of, it always ends up in the wrong bin. Of course, if you only do this a few times, this has a next to zero effect on the enviroment. But when you have almost every person with a piece of trash throwing it into the wrong bin, you suddenly have hundreds of millions of tiny mistakes turning into one huge mistake that has terrible implications for our Earth. Sometimes this happens simply due to an individuals ignorance, but from our personal experiences, we belive it's often due to someone's lack of information about where certain objects are actually meant to be disposed of.

What it does

R3cho is an easy to use Amazon Echo skill that tells the user where a certain object belongs in the garbage, and how to properly dispose of it. All the user has to do is adress their Echo by saying "Alexa, ask R3cho ________" and fill in the blank with anything along the lines of "where I can get rid of (specific item)" or "where I can get rid of my garbage" and Alexa will give a short, easy to understand explanation of where (garbage, compost, recycling) and how (seperate parts, wash it out, etc...) to dispose of their garbage.

How we built it

We made use of Amazon's developer console in order to program multiple parts in our skill including our skills information & variables, the interaction model of the skill and endpoint configuration, written in JSON. Rather than using AWS, we elected to use a service named Losant in order to put togheter the rest of our skill. In Losant we utilized the workflow in order to connect various different nodes togheter into one functioning program using JavaScript. We used Losant's webhook service in order to connect the framework to the Amazon Developer Console.

Challenges I ran into

The biggest challenge we ran into was trying to implement AWS Lambda into our program. AWS has a very steep learning curve, especially since none of our team members were very familliar with Python, which is what we were attempting to write in on Lambda. Eventually we discovered Losant and elected to work with that instead. Other than that, running into some minor errors while using JavaScript on Losant showed up, and we also had less time to make this as we ditched another idea we had about halfway through hacking time and came up with this instead.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Just making a skill that works well and has a purpose is what we are proud of. As none of us had ever worked with any of the Amazon Developer Tools before, and we had less time to create and polish our hack, we're very happy with our product. We showed dedication as a team to complete the hack after losing a lot of motivation from the failure of our first idea. We experimented with hardware and software that we had no previous experience with and sought to make our innovative ideas come to life.

What I learned

If you have an idea for a hack, make sure it is feasable and make sure your team has the knowledge and experience to do it! We had lost a lot of confidence and hope after our first idea clearly wasn't working out.

What's next for R3cho

R3cho is an amazon skill that has a lot of future potential including: efficiency tools a.k.a arrays, making R3cho into a seperate application, implementing data reporting to provide useful statistics to the user and to various environmental agencies, implementing support for many more common and uncommon pieces of garbage and potentially creating an API out of R3cho software.

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