OfflineBling was originally intended to be an Android app paired with a web app that helped refugees from other countries transition into their new lives easier through fast, responsive, automated support from our server. We knew that refugees had a hard time adjusting to the new environment and culture, and wanted to create a service using the apps that allowed us to answer any questions they may have about foreign objects/habits. By the end of the hackathon, we had built something quite a bit different from our original goal.
Now, OfflineBling offers refugees offline access to Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha without the need of a newtwork connection (WiFi or data). Using multiple APIs, including Twilio, MediaWiki, and Wolfram Alpha API, users can search Wikipedia or query Wolfram Alpha without having to connect to the Internet. The process is done through SMSes and Twilio, which are integrated into our app, providing the user a smooth experience, just like they were using an actual internet connection. Essentially, our app provides the use free data service if they have unlimited SMS on their phone (which almost all plans come with). In addition to this, we have built a community Q&A system where users can ask questions through a text message and receive an answer if that question has been answered before. If not, the question is added to the database for other members of the refugee community to answer.
Going forward, improvements could be made on the accuracy of the searching. As well, we could group similar questions in the Q&A system together to avoid too many identical questions popping up. And the design could always use a few more tweaks.