DEV Community

Juan Irache
Juan Irache

Posted on

nephews — human tech support

What I built

In a society where communication is increasingly happening online, the elderly and other communities with low tech literacy can feel isolated, especially in times of confinement. Some have relatives in their households that can help them solve basic problems, but others don't. Introducing nephews.

View Promo Video

  1. A user dials the nephews number
  2. The user is asked to explain their problem and their message gets transcribed
  3. The transcription is used to select potential volunteers by topic
  4. Selected volunteers are notified by SMS and can review the recorded message to decide if they can help
  5. When a volunteer confirms their availability, a new call is created between them and the user

Category Submission:

COVID-19 Communications

Demo Link:

Link to Code:

newphews on GitHub

How I built it

The core idea behind this project is to make use of new technologies to help people that struggle with them: On the user end, this is just a classic phone number. All the magic is done by the server and Twilio, leaving an also minimalist workflow for volunteers on the other end.

I thought implementing voice and SMS services would be too challenging for a quick project, but here's a functioning prototype!

The back end runs on Node.js. The server code is Express.js. Communications with a MongoDB database happen through Mongoose. Custom code handles Twilio's SMS and Voice APIs. SMS is used for action confirmation (validate or delete account, confirm availability for calls). Voice is involved in handling incoming calls, recording and transcribing questions and starting new calls between both parties (users and volunteers). The front end is React with SCSS styles.

Down the line, it will be exciting to improve the topic and language filtering code using vocabulary APIs and even machine learning techniques.

How to try the service

  • Go to, click on I want to help to create a volunteer account
  • Have a different person go to I need help with technology instead and make a phone call
  • Review the call content on your phone and confirm the call to start a conversation

Welcome message

Listen to it here


Landing page
User section
Volunteer section
Validation and confirmation SMS
Call review and confirmation

Promo video

See it on YouTube

Top comments (0)