💡 Inspiration

  • Inspired by Fighter's Block, a cute typing speed tool we used to love that was a fun wait to encourage solo writers to work on their stories. We wanted to expand on that idea, and provide users with a more extensive alternative to that since that dearly loved project has not been maintained for many years.
  • We admire those who write (where do they get all their creative juices?!)
  • As readers, we hope that we can help writers complete their work so we get to read their published masterpieces.

🔍 What it does

Writing Buddies aims to help (budding) writers through their struggles! We understand that the process of writing may be long and challenging and we are here to help!

Our website has the following tools:

  • AI Writing Assistant
    • Helps those with writer’s block to generate their next paragraph, using Cohere’s API.
    • This helps to solve the issue of writers getting stuck on necessary transition scenes in their story, which gives time more time to focus drafting on the main plot points. We also found that the NLP can add some unexpected twists occasionally, which can help writers spice up their stories.
  • Summarise Articles
    • Helps summarise (using Cohere’s API) articles during research.
    • This helps writers to simplify their research process and get the keep points of articles relevant to their writing quickly.
  • Competitive Typing Game
    • Helps writers stay productive by gamifying the writing process.
    • Can be played solo, or with a friend
      • We hope that the collaborative multiplayer mode can encourage camaraderie amongst writers, something which we feel is very valuable to the writing process
    • Defeat a monster with your words and get an AR Prize!
  • FAQ
    • Frequently asked questions
    • Cohere API is used to classify the different questions and return those that are similar to what the user is asking, to help them learn more about AI for writing, our Typing Games, or even Writing Tips in general.

🔧 How we built it

We first started with visualising our website using Figma. With the blueprint of the website, it was easier for us to ensure that the different screens had a coherent look.Bootstrap further enabled our css to look similar across the different pages. Using the Cohere, we then made use of their API to generate and classify user questions in our FAQ section. We also used the Cohere API for text summarization to help writers with their research, and we used the text generation feature to help them draft filler paragraphs as they write their stories. We also wanted to explore socket.io for this project, so we developed a typing speed game to allow users to write stories with their buddies. We started building the typing speed game with a single-player mode, then integrated the multiplayer functionality with the use of our Node js script hosted on Heroku. Both options are available on our website. Finally, with all the pages completed, we set up the Vercel to host the website.

🏃‍♂️ Challenges we ran into

  • We went through several rounds of ideas initially, trying to figure out the best way to utilise the Cohere NLP tools in the early hours of the hackathon.
  • We had some issues trying to figure out how to serve our web pages for our multiplayer game using the Node.js and socket.io backend and had a slightly complicated method to integrate it seamlessly into our website.
  • It is our first time using NLP for a hackathon project, we had to learn how the NLP worked, and specifically how to use Cohere's NLP tools, which was challenging but fun. We then had to come up with relevant use cases for our application despite our limited experience, and figure out how to implement it on the website.

🏅 Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Getting WebAR to work, which makes the website more interactive for our users and encourages them to write their stories since we used it as a prize feature.
  • Finally figuring out how to work with sockets.io
    • managed to get sockets working, which enabled the multiplayer game to work
  • Managing to get Node.js to work with Heroku
  • Figuring out not just 1 but 3 uses for the Cohere NLP API within the context of our application
  • We're quite happy with how much we managed to learn and accomplish between just the two of us (and we managed to stick to our schedule this time too!)

🧠 What we learned

Through this project we tried several different software for the first time, learning how to use them and how to integrate them into our project. There was also software that we previously struggled with, but were finally able to figure out during this hackathon, such as Node with Heroku and Sockets

  • First time working with web AR software! Using Hololink to create an AR experience that we integrated into our project
  • First time working with Cohere! And first time using NLP for something other than sentiment recognition. It was pretty cool to see the predictions output by Cohere (they were almost always accurate)!
  • First time getting sockets to work, and using sockets in a project.
  • First time successfully getting a Node.js project to work, especially with Heroku.

⏭️ What's next for Writing Buddies

This is just the beginning of our project, there is more room to grow!

  • Improve the multiplayer game mode, to allow users to see their friend typing along with them. This mode could be toggleable, allowing users to decide if they want to see their friend’s progress.
  • Add more prizes for the AR, such as rotating out the AR surprise scene so people will be encouraged to come back and check it out, and making the scene more interactive
  • Add more to the FAQ section
  • Add a character generator, to help writers generate a whole new character (with a name, personality etc.)
  • Enable user login to track and save progress, and provide different prizes

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