Chord Assist: Building an accessible smart guitar for the mute, deaf and blind

In 2017 I created an Android Things project called BrailleBox — a Braille News Reader for the partially sighted. I’m really passionate about helping others and using the knowledge I have to do so, even if it means learning new things to help achieve that goal. This was the main driver for creating Braille Box, but I felt that I could go further and create something that could help others engage in areas that I myself find joy, that may not currently be so accessible (whether accessible at all, or just not quite affordable right now). The result of this project was…

Exploring Firebase UI on Android: Authentication

Firebase UI provides us with a collection of utilities that make it easier to implement common UI components within applications. Firebase authentication provides us a way for our users to validate their identity, without the need to implement all of the back-end work ourselves. hen compared to interacting with the authentication APIs directly, Firebase Authentication UI handles a lot of things for us out of the box: All API request required to communicate with Firebase Authentication services All of the UI around authentication for each of the different service providers (email signup forms, phone number verification etc) Automatic handling of…

Serving web pages with Firebase Hosting

Firebase Hosting is a tool that provides us with a way to host web applications, allowing us to serve both static and dynamic content to our users with a simplified method of hosting. Whether it’s a web app, or a simple static landing page for a pre-launch of our product, we can deploy content to Firebase Hosting with a single command using the Firebase Command Line Interface. When we host our project using this interface, a subdomain is created for us within firebaseapp.com which our users can then access to view our hosted content. One of the great things about…

Loading data from Firestore with Flutter

In a recent side-project of mine I needed to perform some simple loading of data from an external data source. This was all data that I had collated myself so I decided to manually load it up into Firestore — in this post we’re going to quickly take a look at how we can hook up our Flutter application to load data from a Firestore datastore to display to our users. This post will hopefully act as both a guide to show you how to implement Firestore in your apps and also a way to show you how little work is involved…

Exploring Firebase Authentication on iOS

Firebase provides an extensive suite of tools that helps us to both make app development simpler and also provide us with some powerful features to analyse and improve the experience for our users. Within this suite we will find Firebase Authentication, which is a tool providing our users with the ability to sign-up and sign-in to our applications using email, Facebook, Twitter, Github and more. In this article I want to dive into how we can get this functionality setup and added into our apps. To begin setting up our project with Firebase we need to setup our project within…

Exploring Firebase MLKit on Android: Landmark Detection (Part Four)

At Google I/O this year we saw the introduction of Firebase MLKit, a part of the Firebase suite that intends to give our apps the ability to support intelligent features with more ease. With this comes the landmark recognition feature, giving us the ability to detect known landmarks within an input feed so that we can display this landmark information on-screen to the user. In this post I want to dive into how we can implement this feature into our applications. Landmark recognition is something that may not be applicable to every application, but when it is required it could…

Authenticating users with Firebase and Flutter

When it comes to building apps, it’s likely that you’re going to want to perform some sort of user authentication, data storage or some other related tasks. Luckily for us, there are a collection of tools available from Firebase that allow us to achieve such things — some of these tools are also available for use with Flutter in the form of packages. In this post, I want to take a quick look at how we can perform authentication in our Flutter applications using Firebase. We need to begin by adding the Firebase Auth package to our pubspec.yaml file, once you’ve done…