During my time at 3 SIDED CUBE I had the chance to work on a range of projects to drive their mission forward of pioneering Tech For Good, from nature conservation apps to Alexa Skills for vulnerable communities, here's what I got up to.
I spent the majority of my childhood staring at the family computer, playing very basic games and trying to figure out which buttons did what and how everything connected together. Growing up my interest in development only grew as I made the decision to study software development and computing at college.
My tutor Martin organised a seminar where Kev, Chris and Amie came in to do a talk on agency life at my university. Having discussed the student internships and placement I soon applied and was invited in for an interview.
Have you ever enjoyed an interview?
I don’t think many people can say that they enjoyed their interview, but I definitely did enjoy this one. Being super nervous beforehand and really terrified of messing up, Kev and Amie kept everything so laid back that I felt more relaxed than any interview I’d previously been in. Kev asked me a few questions about my work at uni and how much I know about front-end development, it felt like more of a conversation than an interview.
I wasn’t expecting grass on the wall…
I’d seen the office on the website before going in, and was really in awe of the fact that Cube had beanbags and a pool table, although this really wasn’t the reason I joined. It just made me think more about the relaxed atmosphere the agency has, everyone had the freedom to move around and go where they wanted. Entering the office for the first time was also pretty cool, and very colourful.
Alexa and voice assistants are providing unimaginable opportunities in the realm of accessibility, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. I spent my week of Innovation Time developing an Alexa skill to help people in emergency situations where they need information and instructions regarding first-aid.
The need for more accessible tech:
A great way to illustrate the need for more accessible tech is a quote from the NHS, detailing what elderly people should do if they have a fall, stating: “try and get help by shouting, banging on the wall or crawling to the telephone”.
Surely there’s a better way, right?
The First Aid Alexa skill could solve this problem as if someone is unable to move or call for help, they can get their Alexa device to call the emergency services for them, or even get in touch with emergency contacts such as family or friends.
A simple skill with life-saving potential.
The skill could be used for a number of emergency situations other than calling emergency services, guiding users on how to treat different injuries and diagnosing symptoms they’re experiencing, to name a few of the ways charities can use Alexa skills for good.
Inspired by the RSPB nature conservation app, Honeypot is an app that aims to combat the diminishing bee population, raise awareness of bee conservation and generate funding for charities making efforts to protect the species.
The problems I wanted to solve:
The bee population has plummeted 87% since the late 1990s because of factors such as habitat loss, use of pesticides, disease, and climate change, most of this is due to humans, so it’s our responsibility to clean up the mess.
What will the app do?
The main feature is a bee-themed game that users can play with their own personal profiles, using gamification to let users compete for pollenpoints with friends and family, including a Hive leaderboard to display their progress. On top of this, the app also includes a bee chatbot which can be interacted with to take quizzes or learn facts about the bee population and species.
How will the app raise money for charities?
For every pollenpoint earned by a user, one penny is donated to charity, this way the app won’t rely on users making donations alone to raise money. These pollenpoints can be earned through interacting with games, learning about bees through the chatbot or spending time on the facts page.
My time at 3 Sided Cube couldn’t have been more enjoyable, working on Tech For Good projects which are fuelled by the team’s passion to create social impact on a global scale, help communities in need and leave the world a better place than they found it.
What did I learn?
I’ve learnt how to properly debug a problem using inspect element to target exactly what I need to fix, rather than just having a guess. I’ve also learnt to put lots of comments so that other developers can understand the code we’re working on. But most importantly I’ve learnt how to work in a functioning team, using Sourcetree to and git to combine different people’s work and collaborate on team projects.
My top tip for students looking for an internship in Bournemouth:
My biggest piece of advice would definitely be to network and go to as many Bournemouth meet-ups as possible. You can find so many opportunities and honestly, if you want a good career then I would say that this is actually an essential step! Please go and network!
Thinking of interning at Cube?
Don’t wait for a job ad! We’re always looking for students interested in internships and placements which range from design to development and even marketing. Just send us a message – firstname.lastname@example.org!
Published on October 9, 2018, last updated on April 9, 2019