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Cover image for Hypothetitech - A Platform For Recording Stories for Loved Ones

Hypothetitech - A Platform For Recording Stories for Loved Ones

caseorganic profile image Amber Case Updated on ・4 min read

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Everyone needs a story - especially when they're apart

Hypothetitech™ is a phone-based app and platform that allows anyone to record their own interactive stories for loved ones. This "choose your own adventure" style is an engaging way to connect with faraway people, especially those with limited Internet access and technology skills.

This app allows you to record your own low-tech stories for loved ones that may not have access to a stable web connection. We’ve included a sample story to listen to for inspiration before they record their own story.

This app runs on the Twilio Studio Flow program, an easy to configure visual programming language accessible to more than just programmers. We wanted everyone to be able to tell their story, not just those with access to developer tools.

This app was created in 3 days for the first Twilio x DEV community hackathon!


Github Repo


Demo Number - Call 503-455-7353


WHAT IT INCLUDES

Our sample app contains 2 demo modules. In the "choose your own adventure module", the user selects the next fork of the story through their phone's keypad. The "Bedtime story" tells the caller a bed time story to help them sleep, and then disconnects. A third feature "leave a message" invites the caller to contribute a story or piece of feedback.

WHY IT HELPS

Because the app runs through a single phone number, instead of a web app, the story can play right from a dial-in. This framework is more versatile for those that might not have access to a computer or a stable net connection. For this demographic, telephone interaction becomes an opportunity for growth.

MENTAL HEALTH AND STORYTELLING

Bed time stories can help with insomnia during uncertain times. Choose your own adventure stories have been proven to engage the brain and help with anxiety and depression, two large issues during the Coronavirus shut down. The ability to leave a voicemail helps people connect with the people who are creating the software in a more human way.

Installation and Story Editing

  • Download the JSON file in this Github repo to your computer. You’ll be uploading this to your Twilio account in Studio.

  • Log into your Twilio account and go into Studio. Go to All Products & Services >> Runtime >> Studio

  • Create a new Flow, Create a new Flow, and select Import from JSON.

  • Click Next. You will be presented with a code window to paste valid Flow JSON.

  • Click Next to create the new Flow once the JSON definition is added.

  • You should now have a template project that you can use to build your own short story, or add your own branches. Just record your own audio, upload it to your server, and reference it in each Chapter module, or edit JSON file to update it with the location of your audio files.

Deployment

Once you’re happy with your changes, click Publish, and go into All Products and Services >>> Phone Numbers. Register a number if you don’t already have one. Once you have a number, click the number itself to go into the number configuration. Scroll down to Voice and Fax. Under “A Call Comes In” Choose Studio Flow, and the title of your Studio Flow story. Press SAVE.

EXTRAS!

  • Although the entire app can be as easy as sharing a single phone number, we also built a website to help get people in the spirit of calling in.
  • Hypothetitech Website

Still haven't called in?

Call 503-455-7353 to listen to a story!

Visual Documentation

Screenshots of the entire Twilio Studio flow are here:
http://chromogenic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/screenshot.png
http://chromogenic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/screenshot-1.png

HOW IT WORKS

The application begins when a user calls the phone tree. The user immediately hears someone telling a story. Very quickly, they are given a choice to a branching path. If they choose A, they will be routed to A, B, and so-on. There is an option to leave a message to gather feedback on the story.

MOAR BACKSTORY!

It just runs on any telephone, anywhere in the world. The idea was to connect more people that might not have access to a computer or a stable net connection. For this demographic, telephone interaction becomes an opportunity for growth.

  • Created after studying a framework that staves off anxiety and depression. Easy to use for those who are anxious or depressed
  • Helpful for those with unstable web connections that still want to interact with something
  • Helpful for the elderly, isolated, and the lonely
We wanted something that was
  • Easy to use and edit
  • Allowing a loop of user feedback by voicemail
  • Something with the potential to evolve into a framework that allows a low friction way for less technical persons to record stories for their loved ones directly over a cell phone or land line

HOW WE BUILT IT

We used Studio Flow, which we had never used before. I'm not a programmer, but I downloaded Twilio quest, read some docs, and practiced with some sample programs. Now I'm going to dive further into the suite to see what I can do with code!

BENEFITS OF A LOW TECH APP

Because the app is a call-in app, there was no need to prompt the user to set up an account. This drastically simplified both the creation and the security of the app.

WHAT WE LEARNED!

We learned so much from this project! It was very fun to learn how to do something so powerful and creative in such a short period of time!

SINCERELY

@caseorganic & B. Greenstein, Marvelous Labs


LICENSE

Hypothetitech is released under the MIT license. Copyright 2020 Marvelous Labs. For more, see license on the Hypothetitech Github Repository

Posted on by:

caseorganic profile

Amber Case

@caseorganic

Designer trying to turn into a developer, so I can make cooler things!

Discussion

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Hey Amber, this looks like a great Twilio Hackathon submission. Unfortunately, we won't be able to count your submission as valid unless there's a link to your repository along with a permissive license. You can find more details on the submission page: dev.to/devteam/announcing-the-twil...

If you could update your submission with your GH link publicly available, we'd love to count you in the running!

 

Thanks! Can I get code out of Twilio Studio Flow? Or can I just put a readme on Github?

 

Figured it out! Updating before the deadline!

Congratulations for winning the Exciting X-Factors grand prize! 🎉🎉

 

Thanks to Dev and Twilio for hosting this hackathon! I would've never tried out Studio Flows before. It was really easy to build the app of my dreams, and a lot easier to build a platform I can share with non-developers. Looking forward to using this platform for future projects!

 

Well done on submitting an entry for the hackathon. I like the idea and i'll definitely look at Studio Flow in the future.

 

Thanks so much for the kind feedback! It was amazing to be able to get started and finish something with less overhead than I expected.

 

As the co-developer on this, a few words of thanks:

To Twilio, for building some pretty intuitive visual scripting tools. We figured out the basics in no time, and came up with plenty of ideas to try in the future.

To Dev, for hosting the hackathon. This was a genuinely great first experience, and I'm definitely looking forward to future events like this.

To Amber, for taking a gloriously ridiculous idea and running with it. We created a whole unusual Hypothetitech world in the demo with its own bizarre sense of humor, it was a great experience to craft and explore places which exist only in words. But the even cooler part? We built it as a template that can be easily swapped out with completely different branching experiences. Modular design on a comfortable scale, exactly the kind of project I want to work on more of.

To anyone who ran through the experience and enjoyed it. And even to those who didn't. Thanks for everyone!

 
 

I knew this would win. Congratulations 🎉.

 

Thanks so much for the encouragement, and for the kind words! This is extremely exciting!

 

Hey, great idea I was wondering the flowchart at the very beginning where can I make one like that too.