$1,196
pledged of $140,000pledged of $140,000 goal
21
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, May 20 2013 3:59 PM UTC +00:00
$1,196
pledged of $140,000pledged of $140,000 goal
21
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, May 20 2013 3:59 PM UTC +00:00

About

We are students, and we love our technology!

We are students of Mercer University, and we want to create a better learning experience using technology. This whole proposal is based on our student project done in collaboration with Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC). Partnering up with MERC will grant us the technical experience we need to get this project rolling. As an advocate of interactive learning, we want to provide students everywhere with a quality interactive learning experience. We have been looking around for new applications to incorporate technology in the classroom. We believe that interactive technology has the potential to be fun, engaging, and empowering. Students should be able to explore their curiosity! That's why we decided to create the Heroes and Heroines of History project. Then, we decided that was too long and just called it HistoChat.

What is HistoChat?

HistoChat is a modular chatbot service that will allow students to interact directly with important historical figures. And by making it open-source, we can allow others expand and improve on our initial foundation. 

HistoChat is our solution for boring history classes. As students, we would rather engage directly with history than just read about it. Instead of "death by Powerpoint," it would be much more rewarding to learn from a conversation. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning engaging (remember Oregon Trail?); why not solve both of these problems?

Siri has proven that the general public is ready for a computer to talk. Students like us have grown up with computers, iPods, and iPads, so we are rapidly adapting to emerging technology. It is time to bring this interactive experience to everybody, especially the classroom. Let's revive history by making it come to life.

So... how are we going to bring history to life?

We are going to first do a lot of research. Working with historians and storytellers, we will develop a chatbot that has a personality and responds in a manner that is in line with the actual historical figure. We will write the topics, concepts, and the appropriate responses that are relevant to the chosen historical figure. From these categories, an input-output progression or story arc will be created from which the bot will draw its responses. Each response will be mapped to another subset of responses that will facilitate a conversation if the user continues down that particular conversation arc. If the user switches arcs, effectively asking the bot about a different subject, the bot will jump to a new arc that facilitates the new conversation.

Creating a believable historical chatbot is only the beginning. Our goal is to provide students with a better way of learning history. We are going to develop a modular interface that allows students to talk to the historical character as they would a real person. We are also going to make HistoChat available for everybody by deploying it on the web. Every classroom with an internet connection will be able to use HistoChat as a tool for teaching history, and, because HistoChat is modular, educators will be able to modify and edit the chatbot to fit their lessons. This will be a tool that not only could help schools, but also provide additional tools for student learning at home.

HistoChat Demo


Why we need your help.

Building a database full of information takes a lot longer than you would think. Collecting all the possible questions, researching accurate responses, and writing all the hundreds of lines of AI code for every possible conversation chain will take most of our funds.

The rest will be spent on developing the front-end and back-end structure for HistoChat. The interface design will be important to promote interaction between the user and the chatbot. Additionally, we need to ensure that HistoChat will be able to reach as many classrooms as possible. Therefore, it will have to be designed to run in multiple environments with minimal setup.

As an added bonus, we are going to develop a HistoChat community for developers and brain builders. That's where the modular feature really shines. You, the community, will be able to build upon current historical personalities using any tools we create. All our documentation will be also be available, as well as user guides. We want to make sure that teachers and people everywhere can see how we created HistoChat. That way, everybody will be able to improve it and customize their own. How would Einstein react to the internet? You can influence his answer!

Your support matters.

Since you are helping to make HistoChat a reality, you are part of the team! You get to help choose which historical character gets developed first. We have compiled this list from some of the most popular figures in history:

  • Albert Einstein
  • Amelia Earhart 
  • Mahatma Ghandi
  • Martin Luther King, Jr
  • Susan B. Anthony

Risks and challenges

The great part about working with a dedicated software engineering center is that the risks for delivering a finished product are really low.

MERC has been doing software development for over 25 years. As a non-profit company, so they don't keep profits. They retain customers by keeping their promises. By partnering with MERC, we can tap into their vast knowledge base if we run into any difficulties.

Also, delivering our software won't be a problem since it is open-source; we can just release it when we are done. We really want to get HistoChat off the ground and we have taken every precaution to make this happen.

A non-profit operating unit of Mercer University, Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) provides Electronics, Mechanical, and Software Engineering, Analysis and Designing, and System Support to a wide array of educational, government, and industry customers.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You get a thank you note from the whole team and the knowledge that you are helping to bring history to life.

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    Bronze Sponsor -- Not only do you get a big thank you from the team, you also get your name listed in the program as a Bronze Sponsor.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Silver Sponsor -- Now you get a thank you, and you get pushed higher up in the sponsors list in the program; you are now a Silver Sponsor.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Gold Sponsor -- You get one vote for your choice for first historical chatbot and get your name put down as a Gold Sponsor! As a Gold Sponsor, you also get early access to the beta and some cool stickers.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Gold Sponsor + -- In addition to all the perks of being a Gold Sponsor (vote, early access), you get also get an Awesome HistoChat T-shirt (Design chosen by backers) - US Only

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Platinum Sponsor -- You get a vote, the stickers, one early beta access account, T-Shirt (US), and you are put at the top of the list as a Platinum Sponsor.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Platinum Sponsor + -- You get all the Platinum Sponsor perks, PLUS a coffee mug. So you can drink your coffee like a boss when interviewing our historical bot.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You are more than a Platinum Sponsor+. You are a Hero of technology and history. -- As a Hero, you will receive your weapon in the world of bot creation: a copy of "Be Your Own Botmaster" by Dr. Wallace.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Superhero -- So this is dedication, huh? As a Superhero, you not only get your weapon, "Be Your Own Botmaster," but also your very own Timbuk2 messenger bag to carry it around with you in style.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    No, THIS is dedication, Champion. -- You get all the perks of a Superhero, but more. You also will get a Polo Shirt (US + Int), and have your logo (company or personal) placed prominently on the HistoChat site.

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Funding period

- (30 days)