We were inspired by our team mate Michelle who's gradma passed away recently. Though she didn’t die from the coronavirus, COVID restrictions meant that her grandpa couldn’t be by her side for her final moments.

Coronavirus restrictions have separated families and friends. Whether it be from COVID-19 or other causes, those who are fighting for their lives and those nearing the end of theirs do so alone. Many of them are too weak to speak or hold up a phone. Nurses, doctors, and other health care workers have limited time and resources to facilitate connection between loved ones.

Whilst solutions like voicemail, Facetime, and others could facilitate communication between loved ones, these are impractical when health care workers have limited bandwidth to do much more than a quick phone call to connect all parties.

What it does

Sound of Your Love is a simple service that’s easy for anyone to use and has the healthcare staff in mind. First, a friend or family member signs up for an account. They receive a unique call-in phone number that they can send to others. When people call the number, they’re instructed on how to record a message. The message is populated in the system.

Later on, the staff at the hospital, hospice, or nursing home can get access to the unique phone number. The staff member selects “listen to messages,” to play back all the messages at once. The staff can continue their work while the patient listens to the soundtrack of love.

How we built it

The technologies used were React for the frontend, MongoDB on the backend. This was hosted on Heroku. Twilio was the interface for the voice calls.

More importantly, we spent time designing the service to be simple and it was key to involve members of our team who had expertise in the healthcare system.

Challenges I ran into

React was new to all developers except one. Although the Design Thinking webinar had recommended not using Twilio, we had to use it as it was a key piece of our system. Twilio was easy to set up but it comes at a cost.

We also run into challenges with authentication, which was not a project differentiator but was important. There are many different ways and many different services that handle authentication and it can get quite confusing.

We also had challenges with how to save large audio files on the backend. It had to be chunked and we didn't get a chance to work on putting it together - so we relied on static data for the demo.

Accomplishments that we are proud of

For many of our team mates, this was their first hackathon experience.

What we learned

What's next for Sound of Your Love

We want to finish up the end-to-end flow of recording to playback. For demo purposes some parts we hard-coded. We also want to complete the management features. There's also an opportunity to fold this into an existing service out there.

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