Our inspiration came from the fact that we thought there had to be a better way to handle those flimsy papers that restaurants have outside their doors for people to write their names on. We believed we could use technology to replace the need for pens, papers, electronic buzzers, and maybe even hostesses.
What it does
The application essentially allows the user to walk up to a kiosk, scan the restaurant's unique code, and automatically be added to the restaurant queue. From there, they will be notified of information such as their queue position and their estimated wait time. They will also receive a notification when their table is ready.
How we built it
Our project is composed of two applications, one for the client and one for the kiosk, using Android Studio. In order to create the connection between the client and the kiosk, we used QR codes. The information extracted from the QR codes are then sent to the server, which was built using node.js and mongodb.
Challenges we ran into
Many of the challenges we ran into were generally smaller because we broke the whole project down into many manageable tasks. This meant that our team would help each other solve the issues as they arose. With that being said, one of the toughest challenges we had to face was trying to embed a QR code scanner into our client side app - something that was crucial to the success of this project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The accomplishment that we are most proud of was seeing the way the kiosk looked when it was all set up, being able to scan the QR code, and having our names pop up on the kiosk in the queue.
What we learned
We learned many different things throughout this hackathon; however, the most valuable lesson we learned was that pacing ourselves throughout the event resulted in a much better experience in comparison to our experience at last year's HackUCI when we wanted to finish the project before getting any rest.
What's next for Ease
If our group decides to continue working on Ease, there are many other features we could add to the app. We could implement an AI that can interpret statistics to give extremely accurate table seating estimates. Furthermore, we could allow restaurants to customize the options offered on their kiosks, such as seating options like tables, bars, booths. Lastly, another feature to add to the app would be to allow customers to save their meal preferences and automatically order their meals just by scanning with their phone. An example of this would be a customer walking into Chipotle, scanning Chipotle's kiosk, selecting their "Healthy Burrito", and having all their preferences automatically sent to the cashier.