Inspiration / What it does
Sometimes it can be incredibly overwhelming trying to find the best places to go when travelling, especially when travelling alone. It's particularly challenging for people with disabilities - we wanted to create a more streamlined experience.
TravelBotty uses a chat interface and allows users to send a message about something that they want when travelling alone (i.e. "I want tacos"), and provides a single location-based response including place name and address. It's just like getting a reccommendation from a friend - a friend who happens to have knowledge of nearly every attraction in every city.
How we built it
We used the smooch api to provide the chat interface. We take a string from the user, and use a nuance nlu model to determine a relevant query (i.e. "tacos" -> "mexican"). We then take this query and feed it into a location specific search using the TripAdvisor api. We then extract the address and name of the attraction from TripAdvisor, put it in a sentence, and send it back to the user in the smooch chat. Our backend development was done entirely in python, and the frontend is a simple html/css web interface.
Challenges we ran into
We had some server issues, and got banned from smooch not once, not twice, but thrice.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
This was our first big project with apis, so we're very happy to have connected 3 of them!
What's next for TravelBotty
As of now, the travel bot only provides suggestions based on food. In the future, we would extend this to encompass all types of attractions, and give the travel bot some non-travel dialogue responses to make it seem more human-like. Furthermore, we would implement TravelBotty as a mobile app. We are also interested in adding a "guardian angel" feature, whereby a designated guardian angel can receive updates (via email or text message) on the places that the user is going. This would provide peace of mind for the "guardian angel" so they know everything is okay when their loved one is travelling alone.