Imagine one day you wake up and are feeling especially thankful for life. You walk to your fridge to grab a glass of milk and see a button hanging on the fridge. "A tap away from helping today". You tap the button. Just like that, you've contributed $5 toward helping a farmer in Nepal get surgery on his leg so he can continue to work and support his family.

With the aid of the Watsi donation platform, Tapsi is a mighty button that does everything described above. Inspired by the Amazon Dash Button, Tapsi is not only lightweight, convenient, and beautiful, but also life-changing. The Tapsi team strongly believes that having a physical manifestation of the Watsi donation platform will encourage users to donate to social causes more regularly.

What it does

The concept is simple: have a friendly button that, when pressed, sends a donation to a patient on Watsi. We didn’t just stop there though. The Tapsi team knew we could do so much more with the resources, time, and motivation we have this weekend.

The Tapsi button is complemented by a selfie cam that allows users to get a little more personal with their donations. Users can choose to upload their selfies to the Tapsi site where other users can see who is donating and to whom. We also used Microsoft’s AI technology to scan the images and tell us who the happiest donors are. From there, we can hold fun competitions on the site and rank the happiest donors of the day, or the best duck face selfies of the week, etc.

Very importantly, our website also gives donors information on who their latest button donation went to so they can read more about the real life impact they’re having. We also keep an updated count on how much users have donated over time.

How we built it


Just kidding. We used a Raspberry Pi for sending button presses and webcam selfies on the interwebs. Some of the additional hardware we used includes: Wifi dongle, LEDs, button, switch, battery pack.

Our website uses Bootstrap and all the good good web technologies, HTML/CSS/JS. Images of real life patients were taken from Watsi’s website and our backend is served using Ruby on Rails.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge for us was integrating the different technologies we’re using for the project. This includes having the Pi talk to our Rails server and from there talking to the Microsoft backend to compute the happiness of a certain selfie.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Working as a team. Making decisions and getting past disagreements. Building really cool technological products that benefit humanity. Getting expert opinions and iterating our product design and philosophy.

What we learned

Cady - This is my first hackathon. I definitely learned a lot more about web development than I knew before, such as Ruby on Rails and CSS. Derrick & David - We learned a lot about developing with the Raspberry Pi and how simple it is to use. Andre - I learned that the “why” for a product is much more important than the “what”. Once you come up with an idea for something and have a strong conviction that you’re building the right thing, well it’s all downhill from there. Development becomes a lot more enjoyable when you have a “why”. Sophia - I learned many things! From how to make a Chrome Extension to Ruby and Raspberry Pi.

What's next for Tapsi

Tapsi realizes that hardware is expensive. We are interested in seeing how cheap we can get our hardware, in order to get as many buttons in the hands of donors as possible.

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