This pandemic hit the humanity hard on every front. Thousands of lives have been lost, millions still suffer, businesses and livelihoods have been destroyed and all we could do was scurry back into our homes and wait it out. We are not trained medicare professionals or doctors to be in the frontlines and tend to the ailing. We are just students.
This hackathon proved as an incredible platform for us to be helpful in these trying times and So, we built an app!
What it does
The app was developed to tackle three challenges:
- Help get essentials, specific supplies to the ailing and delicate people
- Provide a source of income to people who lost their jobs
- Decrease the number of people running for supplies and help flatten the curve(more congregation -> more spread)
People need food, medical supplies and other things but some find it too troubling and scary to step outside themselves. With ERRAND, they can: 1.a) Post a list of supplies, quantity and how soon they need it through the app (or) 1.b) Get a list of people who will be running their own errands soon and contact/request one among them who is convenient, to fetch a few things or supplies.
The compassionate and healthy who want to help the others get through this and some who lost their jobs are looking for a source of income. With ERRAND, they can: 2.a) Look at the list of posted requests (from above - (1.a)) and run these errands for some mutually agreed tip or fee.
The app combines errand runs in a neighborhood, so lesser number of people go to the supermarket therefore reducing exposure and fewer people get sick. At the same time the app helps vulnerable people such as the elderly and the infected to get deliveries as the services will be less overwhelmed.
How we built it
As minimalistic and rewarding as possible. A simple UI that provides an option to post an errand that you want someone to help out with or be that someone and help with the posted errands.
Scheduled errands and posted requests are marked on embedded Google Maps in the application. The user can simply click on a mark and send a request for supplies or if its a request, service them. Any action performed broadcasts notifications to relevant individuals.
We decided to go serverless and congregate all the collected data in Firebase data store. The app talks and fetches real time updates made in the data store without any centralized co-ordinator.
Challenges we ran into
Our initial plan comprised of building a lot more functionality into the application but they were shelved because of time devoted to build a bug free core functions in a short period of time. We also had to learn the technologies required since most of us were not familiar with them. Last but not least, constrict the contents to fit in a 2 minute walk-through video.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud and extremely happy to be able to think and construct something to help in times like this. We feel awesome to have been able to pull this off with each of us working in remote places.
What we learned
What modules must be heavily focused when building an application from scratch and that a lot of time MUST be spent on the ideas. Our brains can concoct incredible solutions and ideas given enough time and this time will never be considered wasted.
What's next for Errand
We have a lot more to implement and fine tune the application so it is super helpful and easy to use.
Try It out
android-studio, firebase, java