Let's face it. The world gets lazier and lazier by the day. From another perspective, students and employees get busier and busier. When vigorously working on something, we wanted a quick and easy way to allow people to hear their notifications or even the time by simply tapping their work desk.
What it does
A user can choose whether they would like time notifications or app notifications in the app. Then, using background running services, simply hitting the surface the phone is resting on with your hand, it will dictate the notification.
How we built it
We used Android Studio to create the entire Android app, written in Java. In order to detect whether the desk surface was tapped/bumped by the user, we decided to track the phone's accelerometer sensor values in the x, y, and z directions. Quick, sudden spikes in the z-value meant a tap, which in turn triggered the text-to-speech (TTS) output.
Challenges we ran into
When using the accelerometer values to trigger the TTS, we noticed that the phone thought it was tapped when picked up by the user or when walking around. Hence, we had to find a way to combat this flaw by finding a more accurate way to determine the phone's current state (whether it is on the table or in the air).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The fact that we found out a way for the phone to detect taps/bumps is a big achievement, as we had to experimentally test the amount of acceleration that changed when this happened, differentiating from a tap or just a slight movement.
What we learned
We learned that even the simplest of apps can take time to create, and even more time to perfect (which we still haven't done yet). We also learned that sometimes apps don't have to be so far-fetched and complicated to be cool and useful, as is demonstrated by Tapioca.
What's next for Tapioca
We are considering to continue the development of this app to work out the minor bugs and issues. Once perfected, we can put it on the Google Play Store, and allow anyone to get this app for free.