Our inspiration for SOS came out of our observation that emergency services are outdated. We aimed at building a two-sided services between distressed civilians and 911 dispatchers which allowed for more information to be transferred between the two parties.
What it does
SOS, in brief, creates new pipes for information transfer between civilians and dispatchers. However, there are an immense number of amazing applications which can be realized through such a simple interface. Sending media over a 911 call enables dispatchers access to multimedia elements (text, location, health data, images) they otherwise would have no access to. Better enabling them to develop a response and help civilians. Additionally the app has different modes like instant SOS (for travelers who dont know local emergency numbers), silent SOS (for those who cant speak directly to 911 like those suffering from domestic abuse), and language translation (for non-English speakers).
How I built it
The SOS app was built using android studio. We created the app with the initial vision of merely adding text-to-speech for regions without text support for 911 dispatch. However, our vision slowly became more grand until reaching its modern form of a front-facing application created in Java and integrated heavily with Google Cloud API, as well as a web server based around FTP protocol, and python scripting in order to generate our responsive websites.
Challenges I ran into
One of the main challenges involved in this project was the communication between the app, server, and website. This is the crux of our app and we went through many different server architectures in order to land on one that would balance security and ease of use.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I am very proud of the use of the IBM language translation that was integrated into the app. This required a good amount of work to implement, and now that it is properly added it could allow for better communication between non-English speakers in the US who might otherwise have been discouraged from calling emergency services. And better communication is really the centerpiece of this whole project, so this is quite important to us.
What I learned
I have learned the importance of properly managing the many elements that are involved in large scale projects such as these. Between the app, the server, and the website we had many different objects, APIs, and graphical elements that had to be balanced and the key to managing all of this was proper organization. It really gave me a new appreciation for the best practices which often times I ignore during small scale solo projects.
What's next for SOS
We hope that SOS can help to actually enhance the 911 dispatch centers of the US. We hope that we can possibly get in contact with these dispatch centers to see what there needs are and what elements of SOS would best be of help to them. We can then develop secure protocol for the integration of these dispatch centers into the SOS network.