The desktop app.
Sara is inspired by science fiction AI assistants that help out their creators. After noticing how lazy many people (even including us!) could get from a simple Youtube video chain or social media post, we believed that a bot could start holding people accountable. When people try to "change" or set resolutions to improve by themselves, they often fail because they can't hold themselves accountable. But by creating a human-like bot that simulates human emotion and loves to be cynical of our abilities, people can become more motivated to simply try harder.
What it does
Sara is a culmination of multiple different features that work together for the best productivity training experience. It tracks everything you do and begins blocking or killing certain browser windows and apps if your unproductivity levels cross a certain threshold. It also records all of this data about your browsing habits to generate detailed daily reports and summaries of how you are performing. Moreover, Sara also has an integrated project management system. It uses an algorithm that automatically sorts all of the tasks you have to do each project, and creates an according to schedule to ensure that you spread your work across all of them to complete them on time, rather than pulling off an all-nighter the day before it's due! The AI also isn't just another Siri - rather than always waiting for your command, it also directly talks to you to scold you when you're going off track, or even congratulate you if you're doing particularly well.
How we built it
We wanted to build a cross-platform desktop app, so we used Electron so that it would be compatible with both Mac and Windows. We used the native scripting languages of each OS to track all browsing activity, and stored them in Firebase. Blocking and killing sites/apps was also done using the native scripting languages.
Challenges we ran into
Electron created limitations for us, such as the fact that Google had removed the Text to Speech API in Electron. This often invoked the need to create or look for other workarounds to do simple tasks.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We believe our user experience for this project flows well and looks appealing to the user, as it is complete with animations and a responsive UI.
What we learned
We learned a lot about structuring complex web apps, as our app consisted of many different smaller components that all worked together. With so many different pieces of code doing completely different things, we had to always keep our code organized.
What's next for Sara
Sara has only touched the surface of what is possible for this kind of application. We believe it can revolutionize the way people work and create a new and simple way for people to improve their productivity levels. Other methods of training such as integrated work-break flow systems, an online productivity leaderboard competition, and more can be utilized to change the way people work!