I would like to be considered for Most Socially Useful Hack


Being a vegetarian, I sometimes get tired of the options I have available at the canteens I frequent at NUS. I imagine that lots of other people (not just vegetarians) feel that way as well. So, I got to thinking: why not create a way for people to find out exactly what food options available to them. Why not make the NUS canteen menus accessible to them. Otherwise, they may miss out on amazing food here at NUS, despite frequenting the canteens here for a long time. And thus, meNUS was born.

What it does

This application allows people to add new dining outlets (such as The New Frontier that recently opened at the Faculty of Science), new food stalls, and new dishes to the database of the app so that others can stay informed as well. It also allows them to update the existing database by removing stalls that have been shut down or food items that are not sold anymore at a particular outlet. Furthermore, the app informs users of the various canteens, stalls, and dishes with the help of the browse function. It provides them with tags (such as chicken, chinese, vegetarian etc.) , so that they can easily identify items relevant to their preferences. The prices, ratings, and names of the various available food items are displayed for users. Users can upvote or downvote canteens and dishes according to their experiences so that they can also help other users in making decisions.

How I built it

I used pretty basic software to build this project. Though I initially intended it to be an Android application, I had to settle for a Java application that runs on the command line.

Challenges I ran into

Though I tried to rope in some team members from Slack, I was either too late or our skill sets did not match. So, I ended up having to do the entire project myself. It certainly didn't help that I only knew the extreme basics of Android App Development and that it was next to impossible for me to learn to make the entire application from scratch by myself in less than 24 hours. Also, going around food stalls and taking down data took more time than I thought it would. Finally, this being my first hackathon, I didn't realise how hard it would be to function without sleep. I found myself writing code in cruise control and ended up wondering what I was even trying to do.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm quite satisfied with what I've managed to make all by myself in the span of 24 hours, with sleep deprivation really weighing me down in the latter hours. I'm happy that I took some initiative to also talk to other people about their projects and managed to get some feedback on my own.

What I learned

Learning to be mostly self reliant in taking decisions and learning how to fix issues and bugs is something that I can definitely take away from this hackathon. Also, there's no shame in asking for help when we need it as that's the way you learn. I also came across a few resources (that I look forward to making use of in the near future) online when searching for other stuff.

What's next for CY - meNUS

Look out for the meNUS android app. I will definitely be converting meNUS into a complete useful Android app (and maybe a website if people like the app) as soon as I learn how to develop for Android. The features will be made more efficient and complete and I may even try to partner up with some stalls to create a mobile ordering platform.

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