Inspiration

Binge drinking has become a systemic problem on college campuses, with an estimated two-thirds of college students reporting binge drinking in the past. Binge drinking, in addition to its long term neurological nephrotoxic effects, has been associated with higher rates of sexual assault and rape. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by those under the age of 21 is in the form of binge drinks, causing an estimated 1,800 deaths and 696,000 assaults every year, of which nearly one hundred-thousand are sexual., Together, binge drinking costs our economy an estimated $191 billion dollars per year in lost productivity, increased hospital visits, and greater crime rates. Yet in spite of overwhelming evidence linking binge drinking to adverse health and societal effects, few technology based solutions exist to combat college binge drinking and its downstream effects. We developed TrustFall to fight for the millions of college students plagued by binge drinking every year.

What it does

Our application provides an easy to use platform for college students to notify emergency contacts in case of binge-drinking related problems, including sexual assault. In addition, our platform enables emergency contacts and campus security personnel to locate the user in case of binge drinking related problems. Our application works via the following steps:

  1. Users set an expected return time and safe locations (ie. dorm, house, etc) before going out to drink or party.
  2. TrustFall sends an alert to “check in” on the user at the expected return time.
  3. The user can answer TrustFall by saying: a) “Yes! I’m having fun!”,b) “Help! Notify my friends!” c) “Request an Uber” d) “Call campus security.”
  4. If the user answers “Yes, I’m having fun.”, TrustFall will check in again after 1 hour.
  5. If the user answers “No! Notify my friends!”, Trustfall will immediately send a message to Sarah’s emergency contacts with Sarah’s current location and a prewritten help message requiring her friends to reply. Using the user’s location, the user’s friends will try to find her and bring her home to safety. Once the user is home or at a preselected safe location the Trustfall software will automatically notify the user’s emergency contacts of his or her safety and exit.
  6. However, if all of Sarah’s emergency contacts fail to respond within 15 minutes, Trustfall will enter Stage 3 and send Campus Security a message with Sarah’s current location and unresponsive status.

How I built it

React-native was used to build the front-end and handle push notification for TrustFall. Using socket.io to transfer the SMS data to node.js backend hosted on Amazon Web Service (AWS), twilio was used to send a text message to the recipients on the emergency contact list. Lot of date components were handled using moment.js. 900 lines of javascript code were written to make TrustFall come to life.

Challenges I ran into

Technical challenges - it was most difficult to implement Twilio API into react-native. Since react-native does not run on server, I had to work around the client using socket.io. By hosting an Instance on AWS EC2, we were able to create a server that operates Twilio to send user location to other people through SMS.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are proud of designing a near complete Beta version of our application. We are particularly proud of creating a practical solution that can potentially help many students in real-life; there are many sexual harassment incidents that go unnoticed.

What I learned

We learned that this issue was more prevalent than we thought it was. The seriousness of the issue became the motivation for us to really be in other people's shoes and think about a practical solution.

What's next for TrustFall

Next we hope to begin reaching out to universities in order to license our application. We also hope to increase the funcationality of TrustFall to be applicable to young professionals. We also hope to partner with Uber and local police departments in order to provide better support in cases of emergency.

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