What it does
It sucks to be stuck behind a textbook that you don't fully understand. "Speed of Sound" is a service where you can upload a picture of a page you're having trouble with, and we'll run artificial intelligence algorithms on it to produce a simplified version that's easier to comprehend. We also identify keywords that allow us to display relevant flashcards from Quizlet, making learning more efficient and accessible.
We've developed both Web and iOS applications that can work together. You can start on your commute on your iPhone (i.e. snapping a photo of your notes after class) and continue right where you left off at home with the comfort of a larger screen. We wanted to make the lives of those who work and study hard late in the evenings a lot easier and smarter.
How we built it
Speed of Sound -- named after Coldplay, inspired by our common goal to improve education -- was built using Python for the backend and a mix of Objective-c and Swift for the iOS app. The synthetic analysis was done with Optical Character Recognition (OCP) and Natural Language Processing. We chose SQLAlchemy for the database and hosted it Linode's high performance Linux SSD servers.
Challenges we ran into
OCR output can be a mess. Never use httplib as a Python HTTP library. [Flask]SQLAlchemy is a pain to work with as well. To integrate a native mobile app, a fully featured webapp, all the while integrating our own in-house server+DB and RestFUL Python APIs, we devoted a tone of effort and collaboration to finish the hack. None of us were a master in everything and had to live on others to accomplish something so broad over a weekend.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud of putting together all these different bits and pieces into one service that works very well. We are delighted to have a fully functional, cross-platform application that benefits not only students, but businessmen, engineers and alike who are busy and short of time in today's fast-paced, information overwhelmed society.
What's next for Speed of Sound
Machine learning and incorporating additional sites (i.e boundless.com) and raw sources.
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