Packing is one of the most stressful elements while preparing for a vacation. Therefore, Secure the Bag was designed to provide personalized packing recommendations to the traveler through a website and Alexa Skill.
What it does
Our project helps a traveler "Secure his bag" for a trip. The user gives the location of the trip, date of arrival, and length of the travel. Based on the provided input, our platform will find data about the location's climate, temperature, wind, and places. This data is then processed in our server and we output a list of personalized recommendation items for the travel.
The traveler has 2 ways of accessing our project:
1) Using an Amazon Alexa powered device (e.g Echo Dot Hardware ) & invoking our skill by saying 'Secure the Bag' and following the dialog
2) Going on our Website hosted on Google Cloud (https://PackYourBag.online/) and typing the information
How I built it
The Alexa Skill was built using an AWS Lambda Function written in Python that uses voice intents and slots to get the data from the user and then process the data using weather & geolocation APIs.
The packing recommendation for the traveler is defined based on observational data from our group and then we scaled with weather, temperature, and locational categories to give the person the correct amount of items for each trip.
Challenges I ran into
Since our entire team was presented with new technologies, we had challenges in the frontend, backend, and Alexa Skill. On the frontend, we had trouble displaying the correct item images, aligning our grids, and creating an appealing design. On the backend, we had to think about the processing of all the data while making meaningful packing recommendations based on the number of days and locations. Therefore, we had to create 2 data structures to categorize all of our item recommendations and make sure '7 umbrellas' is converted to '1 umbrella'. As if this was not enough, everything on the Alexa Skill was a rollercoaster. We had to change how the dialogs worked to make sure we would get the city, date, and length of trip parameters to generate the packing recommendations.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Creating an Alexa Skill & a website with an impactful idea of assisting people with packing. Learning how to create dialogs on the Alexa kit and processing the data on an AWS Lambda Function. Finishing a really awesome project with 50% of our team being first-time hackers!
What I learned
We learned how to work together as a team and mentor each other while working on this project. In addition, it was really cool to see how the development of Alexa Skill works. Also, we learned how to properly link our domain.com domain with GCP.
What's next for Secure the Bag
We want to launch our Alexa Skill on the Amazon Marketplace to share the functionality of the project with millions of people around the globe. With time, we will improve our outputs & data processing.