I recently took part in IBM’s annual North American Intern Hackathon and I am incredibly proud of what my team managed to hack together in the short time frame.

Together with Aster Wu, Ben Honda & Sandip Saha Joy — we hopped on a socially distant video call and came up with a solution aimed at climate change. We came up with CarbonCash.

Photo by Lou Levit on Unsplash

CarbonCash is an app that encourages users to avoid driving their car by letting them know how much gas money and emissions they saved on each trip.

We also encourage users to donate some of their gas savings by making it easy to find organizations like Arbor Day in the app!

Photo by Lou Levit on Unsplash

With COVID-19, I fell in love with cycling to give me an excuse to get out of the house. If I started biking 20km to work when the office opens back up, CarbonCash would tell me I saved enough money for a coffee ☕️. Two coffees ☕️☕️ when I get home! That may not seem like much but it does add up alongside the carbon emissions I’m saving.

Realistically, this idea isn’t anything revolutionary or groundbreaking but we think it’s a nice excuse to use an awesome tool offered by IBM Cloud ☁️ — Watson Assistant.

If you’ve ever used an app called Cleo, you’ll understand exactly where I’m going with this. We wanted our app to be centered around Watson Assistant; an AI conversation platform that’s actually pretty good. More importantly for a hackathon, it’s easy enough to set up in just a couple hours.

Watson Assistant chat in action within the app

Check out this free course from Cognitive Class if you’re interested in learning how to build something like this yourself.

Users can do anything they would need to within the chat interface. They could ask Watson questions about their gas savings and get rich, human-like responses each time. Or they could even ask for help donating 50% of their weekly savings.

Combining Flutter, Watson Assistant and this approach, we got away from making a boring app where you click buttons and then fill in a form to finally see some numbers. We managed to provide a rich and modern user experience that not many apps offer today — all in under 2 days.

Thanks for reading my post! I hope I inspired you to consider AI as the focal point of your next UI 😉. Reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter if you want to chat!