Inspiration

Our inspiration stemmed from the challenges that our elderly may face frequently. We learned more about this topic through conversations that we had with professionals in the field. They noted that it would be beneficial for our elderly to have an available companion to talk to, provide insights and reminders, as well as keep track of the user's health with daily check-ins. We hope that an interactive Alexa skill minimizes the need for interfacing directly with on-screen technology and provides a more natural and sustainable way to support our seniors, both mentally and physically.

What it does

Virtual Caretaker is an Alexa skill that can be easily incorporated into any Amazon Alexa device. The skill allows users to receive customized and personal check-in messages, reminders, and scheduling information. Not only is this useful for our elderly who might want this kind of assistance, but it also provides a way for health professionals to exchange information with the users.

How we built it

We built this skill with the Amazon Developer Console and Services and with Python.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge we ran into was being able to collaborate in real-time using Amazon Developer Console. Since there is no way to share the internal model and code for the skill among our team members, we often found ourselves on long video chats and shared screens to debug and code together.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are really proud to have learned how to utilize Amazon's Alexa Skill tools. While we haven't mastered it, we were able to identify the structure and take advantage of it to a point that we have a working Alexa Skill that can carry a continuous conversation. Not only does our skill check in on the user, but it also follows up on the user's recorded history.

What we learned

We learned how to collaborate in an environment that wasn't really so conducive to collaboration. Between being completely remote for the hackathon, plus working on a tool in an unfamiliar service, we were able to put together a project that we are proud of and have many future plans for.

What's next for Virtual Caretaker

Our future development includes:

  • Integrating with MyChart to report data directly to a primary care physician
  • Fully developing Virtual Caretaker to maintain prolonged and meaningful conversations with the user
  • Adding reminders for appointments, medications, checking in with loved ones, etc.
  • Adding compatibility with other devices (health monitors, screens, printers, thermostats, emergency detectors etc.) for seamless remote data monitoring
  • Detecting early onset diseases such as dementia through behavioral pattern recognition
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