So this is me. Sebastien, 33 years old French father and husband trying to contribute to this global worldly effort. I am no nurse or doctor but I do have some coding skills, hence my taking part in the hackathon (d'uh). As I'm writing this, we're quarantined in France. Unfortunately, many people still don't get how serious the situation is, and keep going out for walks and picnics out in the sun. Whatever the media say, they won't stay home. So I figured we lacked some communication tool to raise awareness and took it upon myself to create one.
What it does
Run the app to enter a city simulation where a few hundred people go about their daily lives : going out, going for a run, shopping, alone with one COVID-19 infected citizen. Do nothing, and watch how fast the whole population gets infected. Run the simulation again and change how the population behaves using the option panels. Hopefully, experiencing how effective safety tips are, people will change their mind about quarantine.
How I built it
On a crappy laptop, sitting in the bathroom at night trying not to wake up my kids (true story). On a more serious note, I went for my favourite tech : a web browser and some webgl (thanks to the awesome three.js library).
Challenges I ran into
Making the human population behave realistically was a challenge, since I didn't have access to data. Given the vert short period of time I had to code this (a few days), I had to go by trials and errors and hardcode values that I ended up finding satisfactory. Also, whoever will be reading through the code will find it lacking in comments and extremely redundant / unoptimized. Know that these parts were rushed through during the last few hours. :P
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I considered the POC "finished" when I got scared at how fast the infection would spread before my eyes. I'm also proud of the visual overall. It's nothing fancy but it does runs smooth on laptops and smartphones. I do hope the message is clear enough. I'm also proud of actually completing a project and writing these few lines.
What I learned
Up until yesterday, I would still go out 30 minutes a day for a nightly solo run. Running my simulation showed me that there was still a risk and I convinced myself to just stop and got for a jumprope... Techwise, I was both humbled and proud of being able to deliver on a self imposed schedule.
What's next for Stay Safe - Experience the Quarantine
Clean up the code and get feedback on how to get even clearer on why people should only leave home on extremely rare occasions. Then share the webapp as much as possible. Making even a small impact would make me the proudest... Convincing someone to stay home could save lives.