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Robert Osborne
Robert Osborne

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Twiliohackathon Project Part 1 - The Setup

The Problem

As we learn more about COVID-19, we are developing ways to reduce its spread. This is a step in the right direction for people who are uninfected – but what about the confirmed cases?

Hopefully, the confirmed cases of COVID-19 are receiving treatment in hospital or isolated at home. But they can’t visit with friends or family. I’m sure this would make anyone feel lonely. To compensate for this, we can create support groups through communication channels like SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.

But what about people who lack a support group they can turn to?

The Solution

A support group that includes everyone with a mobile phone!
Such a solution would allow anyone with a mobile phone to text something encouraging to someone who is undergoing treatment.

The Tech Stack

This will comprise most of the application and be built using the Serverless framework.

Here is a diagram of the basic implementation (but note that this is a proof of concept and subject to change):


I will create a public-facing web page where those with receiving treatment can sign up to receive words of encouragement from strangers.

I will build this web page using Gatsby and React.

The main line of communication will be through SMS, so this will require Twilio’s Programmable SMS service. Messages are sent in one direction, meaning that no two-way conversations will take place. Once someone receives an SMS message, they can’t respond to it. This gives us room to customize the message sent by including the Giphy API to attach funny or inspiring GIFs. 😄

Final thoughts

The point of this application is to allow everyone an opportunity to send their love and best wishes to those undergoing treatment. It’s important to remember that while most of us (including me) are under quarantine, we aren’t alone. We have the power and resources to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just by sending them a few nice words.

I’m posting this to share my idea, so please let me know what you think!

If you’re planning to do the same thing, let me know what your implementation is. 😄

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