One of our co-founders, Razi Syed visited Frankfurt, Germany alone when he was in Grade 10. Excited for the week-long trip, he barely got any sleep... except for when he was on the train heading to the airport to catch his flight back to Canada. He fell asleep, missed his flight and had to pay over $600 for a new flight. To make sure this never happens to him or anyone else ever again, we decided to create a mobile app called WakeMe.
WHAT IT DOES
A user sets a location (intersection, address, landmark, etc.) as their destination and can happily go on about their business, whether that means sleeping, reading, or listening to music. The app then sets up an alarm that will notify the user when they are within a 500m radius of their destination. Location data collected from the phone enables the app to know where exactly the user is at any given time (with user-authorization, of course) and activates the alarm when they are within the aforementioned radius. This is perfect for commuters and travelers who use public transit and are busy or in a foreign country. Bus timings can easily get delayed due to various factors such as accidents, inclement weather or simply due to rush hour traffic, but the distance to a location will never change.
HOW WE BUILT IT
We decided to implement our mobile app using Java in Android Studio. In the code, we utilized a few API's such as Google Maps' Distance Matrix API as well as Google's Geofencing API. These tools would enable us to work with location services, providing us with real-time updates of the user's location, therefore allowing us to notify the user as soon as they enter the geofence of their chosen destination. As for the UI, we brainstormed and created a few draft designs of how we thought the app should look. After many iterations and team decision-making, we agreed on our favourite design and implemented it.
One major challenge we faced was deciding on our project goals. We had many different, ambitious ideas being suggested but we also acknowledged our time constraints and realized that we should get started sooner rather than later. Some time after starting, we revisited some of our initial ideas and considered modifying our chosen idea. However, upon further research and discussion amongst all the team members, we decided to continue working on our originally selected idea. Another challenge we faced was extracting data from unfamiliar sources, but that was quickly resolved by using a workaround strategy that was much more familiar to the team.
Through all the ups and downs, all the pivoting of ideas, and all the first-timers on our team, we finished the event with a working prototype and a creative project under our belts while simultaneously learning a whole lot.
WHAT WE LEARNED
Everything has a workaround. We realized that Android App Development is not as difficult as it may sound to get started with, but also that it has a high-skill-ceiling with plenty to learn and master. We also learned that no matter how different your team members' skillsets may be, as long as you stick together and persevere, anything can be done.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR WakeMe
If we were to continue this endeavour beyond the scope of this hackathon, one major feature that we would like to implement is social media interaction. Among other ideas, one of our main considerations would be to allow the user's friends to be able to view the user's current location as it updates in real-time. This would ensure that both the user and their friends know when they have arrived at their chosen destination.
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