The inspiration behind this hack was going back through lecture videos before a midterm and wishing there was a way to store notes directly onto the video as opposed to taking notes on paper and then having to figure out what time of the video they correspond to. We wanted something that would move with us – if we’re in a 21st century classroom, why not push our note-taking to reflect how we learn?

What it does

Imagine a video being an interaction of ideas and a platform for conversation instead of a passive, solitary experience. Whether you’re watching a webcast lecture or a kitten video, YAnnotator lets you make your voice heard. Search for a new video, copy a link to an existing video, or join in someone else’s exchange in our application – and then annotate it like you would an interesting article or your lecture notes. You can share the room and collaborate on the markups, bringing the video to life with relevant, timed commentary.

How we built it

YAnnotator has both a mobile and web interface that communicate with a server running on Azure and AWS. The user can either search for a video using Bing's Video API or they can join an existing room which is made private through a hashing system. Users then have the ability to upload annotations at specific time stamps

Challenges we ran into

Deploying a web application on Azure turned into a much more involved experience than we expected as our instances kept crashing despite our development considerations. Most of us were unfamiliar with the technologies used in this project, including Node, Angular, and Mongo, so installing and working with these applications was challenging. We had difficulties passing requests between the mobile application and the server as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We learned and worked successfully on technologies such as Node, Angular, Azure, Mongo, the Bing Video API, and iOS. A lot of these had a steep learning curve, but we’re proud to have stuck with it and put in the time to learn how these developer tools work. Any video link can now be ported into our web application and commented on, and this generated combination of video and annotations can be passed around, referenced at any time, and edited by anyone who has the link.

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posted an update

The web application is now live at! In it we have included updated and new features such as exporting notes to file, sharing and saving rooms by ID, speech-to-text annotations, a total redesign of the UI, and picture annotations (post the URL to an image, and the whiteboard will load and display it). Definitely check it out, and let us know what you think!

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