One of the team members had become really ill due to really bad food allergies to Mustard seeds that he was not really aware of at the time. Since he had to be rushed to the emergency room teammate Kyle had to sit with a UMass dietitian and she just went through a list of the meals for the weak and listed off what he could and could not eat. It came to Kyle that very day that instead of people having to deal with this problem, they should get the information sent directly to them and filed into their inbox on a daily basis. This is all done with no blockage on the the part of the email client.
What it does
Sends a daily digest of all the possible foods the user can safely eat given their proposed allergens.
How I built it
We used several web scrapers to get the ingredients and food data from the respective schools. Then we used spring to abstract the process for our database and we wrote programs to make sure that the email digest is sent directly to the user's inbox and not in their spam folder. We then spent time building the interactive UI portal for user Registration and modification of their preferences.
Challenges I ran into
We had issues building the scripts to deal with email, since email is very wonky. Also, scraping the data was either very fast or very slow at times. One of our biggest issues was dealing with the dependencies and we had messy time with handling the work for the UI from the back-end when in hindsight in would have been better to handle everything on the client side, which we eventually did.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
As a team we cam together and changed what looked like would be a mess, into a tangible product that we ourselves would even use, this is a really exciting experience
What I learned
What's next for Nectr
Nectr can be scaled not only to the Five Colleges, but also to campuses across the nation If Nectr can keep even one person out of the ER, we believe that we will have accomplished something meaningful