Hack the North Project


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Voiceflow API


This year I was fortunate enough to have been accepted to attend Hack the North, Canada's largest hackathon where I spent 36 hours attending workshops, learning new things, and building cool projects. One of the API workshops that stood out to me and my teammate Sid was Voiceflow, a tool used to design & build Alexa Skills and Google Home actions. We had never worked with Alexa/Google Home before but after winning the workshop challenge, (which resulted in a free Amazon Alexa) we decided to build our project using the Voiceflow API and our prize, Alexa.

image displaying our flow in Voiceflow

Our Idea


It was 5 in the morning, and I found myself wandering the halls trying to come up with an idea that used the Alexa we'd won. Among many things my mind kept going back to how I've been trying to keep track of my spending but never felt like opening Excel and actually inputting the data in my spreadsheet... if only I could ask Alexa to do that haha... wait, could I?



"Hey Alexa, I spent money today..."


The concept was fairly simple, we'd tell Alexa that we spent a certain amount of money, then what we spent the money on, and it would update the Google Sheet we had attached to it. In the end, we had an Alexa Skill that was capable of updating money spent as well as money made, informing us when we were within $100 of our monthly budget, and even allowing us to sign up for an email newsletter through the Send Grid API.



image displaying the Send Grid API

In truth, the email sign up wasn't an integral part of the project, but it was cool to ask myself "how would I go about doing this?" and actually adding it to the project. After asking to be added to the newsletter, the user would be asked to accept a permission request, and instantly receive an email after successful sign up!



Hack the North was an incredible time, and I can't wait to attend more hackathons in the future, and to continue building cool smart assistant projects using Voiceflow.