Inspiration

Watching tv is kinda boring. Everyone is using a second screen like a smartphone while watching tv. At least in the ad breaks, the smartphone is the first choice. smartbar❙ fixes this problem by making the tv more interesting by showing related (and unrelated) informations to the show the user is watching.

What it does

We

  • use data from http://www.ericsson.com to show informations to the current tv show (e.g. names of the actors) and the next play dates
  • use data from http://weg.de to offer the user to book a trip directly to the country the tv show was recorded in original
  • use data from http://wetter.com to give the user more or less interesting informations about the weather in the city or country in which the tv show was recorded originally
  • offer a multi user chat function
  • offer a multi user vote function
  • offer a hidden feature to draw funny beards on the screen

How we built it

We got 5 separate projects:

CrossPlattformApp (ReactNative for iOS and Android)

This application is the enduser application. It allows the user

  • to create votes
  • to participate to votes
  • to chat
  • to control the smart tv application

Node.js middleware

This application is the middleware between the smart tv application, all smartphone apps and the data processing backend. It offers a socket.io interface for fast data processing and handling.

Data backend (PHP & Symfony & MySQL)

The data backend was written to get all the data from the different api parters. This backend offers another, internal api for the middelware to get a more controllable data flow.

Smart TV App (HTML & CSS & Angular.js & jQuery)

The smart tv app runs on the tv of the user. It shows all the content that is produced by all participants. This may be chat data, poll results, weather informations, tv series informations, booking offers.

iOS App (not cross plattform)

This app ist just a controller for a little easteregg we built. It allows the user to draw funny beards on the screen to make watching tv a way more funny. See the attached files to get an idea of this

Challenges we ran into

  • Its was kinda hard to keep focussed since we sat in front of a huge twitter wall
  • Our samsung smart tv was "broken", we were not able to work with it - even the samsung guys told os that this tv is weird and maybe a device with experimental hardware
  • Parsing all the apis was kinda hard because of an lack of documentation
  • We had to build our own lan since only wifi was provied

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We had a fun weekend with a lot of learnings
  • We wrote many projects in a very short amount of time

What we learned

  • Pro7Sat1 is a very cool company
  • Samsung tvs are even more buggy than we ever expected
  • Our intestinal flora is not compatible with that amounts of red bull, coffee, mate and cola
  • Its important to sleep
  • Its not a good idea to use twitter on the toilet since the light will turn off automatically

What's next for smartbar❙

  • Maybe we will improve the features on another hackathon
  • If we get the opportunity, we will give Samsung Smart TVs another chance

Source code

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