Hypothetitech – A Platform For Recording Stories for Loved Ones
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!
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.
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.
- 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!
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.
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!
@caseorganic & B. Greenstein, Marvelous Labs
Hypothetitech is released under the MIT license. Copyright 2020 Marvelous Labs. For more, see license on the Hypothetitech Github Repository