Blog post by: Julia Semeraro, Intern at Affectiva
For the past five months I have been working at Affectiva as an intern through the Northeastern University co-op program, an experiential learning experience based on a student’s major. Affectiva was one of the many companies that partnered with Northeastern for this co-op semester, and only one of the few companies I was truly fascinated by due to their position at the forefront of Emotion AI and their evident passion in the industry. Once I started working for Affectiva in July, I was assigned to a new product, Happy.cam.
Happy.cam is a social sharing site powered by Affectiva’s emotion AI technology which allows users to naturally react to content and receive authentic reaction GIFs they can share to content within the application or on other social sharing websites. It is difficult to summarize the last few months of working on Happy.cam in a few actions or words since I started working on the product in the early stages and helped build it into a reasonably complete product with one other developer. I worked on a lot of parts of the product from figuring out how to transform an existing open-sourced application into a Ruby Gem to redesigning the User Interface of the application.
Within the first month of my co-op, Happy.cam had a shift in gears and the initial idea of being a website that caught all emotions a user displayed while surfing the web was narrowed down to the current idea of Happy.cam. With this shift in gears, we had to restructure the look and functionality of the website which is when we transformed an open-sourced application into a Ruby Gem. Through a lot of scouring through Ruby on Rails documentation, finding stack overflow answers that had some resemblance of what we wanted, and help from the other developer, we were able to integrate the open-sourced application with our application to get a start on the social network aspect of our application.
After completing the integration, we had to continue to brainstorm what Happy.cam should be and what functionalities we wanted to provide, eventually leading to more restructuring for the next few months and major User Interface changes. The first picture below is the early stages of Happy.cam and the second and third are what Happy.cam currently looks like.
Creating the new User Interface was tricky at times, specifically when making it completely responsive to resizing a web browser or look good on different size screens but, in the end, it was a very gratifying experience to get everything in line and exactly how it was envisioned.
Thinking back to when I started at Affectiva, I never could have envisioned getting the kind of experience I did: starting on a new product, shifting directions for the product, preparing it for announcement at an Affectiva hosted Emotion AI Summit, and then ramping it up for Blake Shelton sharing Happy.cam on Facebook. If I had anything to suggest to future interns, it would be to take everything as it comes and be flexible because chances are, you will not be able to expect half of the things that will be thrown your way. Working at Affectiva and on Happy.cam has truly been an exciting adventure to be part of and I could not be more thankful for the past five months.