According to a journal article published by Nicole Rader in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology, 40% of Americans indicated that they were afraid to walk alone at night (Rader 2017). While a close friend or family member may not always be available to talk with you on your way home, Talk the Walk gives users the opportunity to appear as if they are on the phone with someone who can immediately call for help, which brings a little more peace of mind to this otherwise stressful experience.
What it does:
Talk the Walk gives users a whole new way to add an added layer of protection to their walk home, and gives them an opportunity to talk to someone when no one else is around. When the user calls the number, they are greeted by an automated voice messaging system that not only guides the user through a productive conversation centered around mental health, but also gives the user the opportunity to reflect on their day. Since this conversation is not being saved or recorded, Talk the Walk can act as a confidential sounding board for people who may want to vent. Ultimately, we hope that by centering the conversation around self-care and well-being, we can promote more positive conversations about mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
How we built it:
Talk the Walk was built with Twilio, TwiML, ngrok and Python (Flask).
Challenges we ran into:
Everyone on the team had a variety of strengths, both technical and non-technical. Combining our strengths in a way that complemented each other was a fun puzzle to put together.
What we learned:
We learned how to program in Python, use the Twilio API, and how to evolve an idea into a fully functioning product.
What's next for Talk the Walk:
We would like to continue to develop this concept to include more safety and security features - including an option to set a "code word" that the user can say if they ever feel they are in danger, which would trigger a call to emergency services.