Inspiration

In the current global situation of COVID-19, there are many struggles and issues that plague the topic of the shipping and manufacturing of corrugated products, medical equipment, and PPEs. Therefore, our project EcoFunder was made with the intention of making this process much more streamlined and personalized for both sides of the equation, the donor, and the donee. Also, we noticed that lots of manufacturers had an increasing amount of backlogs, so this app was also made with the intention of eliminating those backlogs while restoring the B2B supply chain.

What it does

EcoFunder is an app that will streamline and optimize the process of donating goods such as corrugated products, medical equipment, and PPEs. EcoFunder connects donors that can vary from homemade PPE makers to mass-producing corrugated product manufacturers such as Smurfit Kappa. From there, EcoFunder uses a matching algorithm to connect the most optimal donor and donee through a number of factors such as equipment, location, size of the donation, demand/supply, and urgency. With these functions, EcoFunder makes the bridge between any donor and donee much easier to cross.

How we built it

The app was initially developed utilizing Android App Studio and was then connected with Google Firebase. The application was mainly developed in JavaScript and supports a Google API in order to register users like hospitals, or accounts seeking items or desiring to order needed items, as well as manufacturers and individuals capable of donating or vending needed items to the hospitals. The initial stage of development involved making the user interface for the application, based on the app’s user flow; the initial screen registers or logs in the user through the Google API. The next screen displays either user-entered information or the list of queries from hospitals, stored on a google account associated with the application. The app also has built-in camera functionality; the pictures were taken upload images to the central google account, where the content can be processed by the main team, an additional mechanic to help confirm shipment status. Implementing the matching algorithm consisted of reading all inputs from the database and matching hospitals with demand with relevant vendors who have supplied; vendors are additionally prioritized by location and price.

Challenges we ran into

Over the course of this hackathon, there were many struggles and challenges we faced along the way. First of all, the development of the idea was one of the hardest things to do considering the prompt. Although we quickly singled in on the Smurfit Kappa challenge, we couldn’t think of an innovative idea very quickly. It took us numerous trials and brainstorming sessions to single in on an idea. Although, there were other problems we encountered during the coding part they were minor and were solved with a bit of extra effort. Overall, the challenges we faced were burdensome at times but overall were very beneficial.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud that we created a working MVP within the constricted timeframe that not only benefits the environment, streamlines supply chain, and helps individuals on the frontline impacted by COVID-19.

What we learned

From a non-technical perspective, we learned about how COVID-19 impacted the supply chain and caused backlog and a severe need for PPE and certain products for hospitals in addition to companies that use corrugated materials for their own manufacturing. We also increased our knowledge of algorithms and app development.

What's next for EcoFund

Next, we want to add more input factors to the matchmaking algorithm such as pricing and types of equipment donated. We also want to build a Graphical User Interface so users can have a better interactive experience with the EcoFund app. We encourage an open-source environment so developers and creators can suggest new ideas and collaborate with us to further expand the EcoFund application.

Detailed Description

When we noticed the shipment issues and struggles of corrugated products, PPEs, and medical equipment in these times of need, we were motivated and moved to create a novel solution to maximize the efficiency and efficacy of the donations of such goods. With the incorporation of communication technologies and a reliable user interface, the bridge between donors and donees has never been easier to cross.

EcoFunder provides a platform for donors of corrugated products and PPEs to connect with the donees. Our app provides a simple, yet practical GUI to connect the concerning parties. In the current situation with COVID-19, the lack of PPEs and corrugated products are becoming bigger issues day by day. Therefore, EcoFunder streamlines the process through an algorithm that matches the donor to its most optimal donee. EcoFunder strives to increase the spectrum of the functionality of the app, as not only corrugated goods can be donated, but also PPEs and other beneficial medical equipment can be donated.

For example, the donor can vary from someone making homemade PPEs or certified mass-producing manufacturers, but they will all serve the same purpose, which is to provide the necessary people with these goods. These recipients can be companies like Smurfit Kappa, where they would receive corrugated products to help package their medical equipment or they can directly be the hospitals in need of certain PPEs. Regardless of the donor and the donee, EcoFunder’s matching optimizes the process by taking in the factors of equipment, location, size of the donation, demand/supply, and urgency. As a result, EcoFunder will restore the B2B supply-chain manufacturing and eliminate backlogs for shipping and packaging.

Furthermore, EcoFunder was made with the intention of helping out during this COVID-19 situation, but beyond this issue, EcoFunder can optimize and streamline this process, especially for companies like Smurfit Kappa. Although, the current goods that EcoFunder is catering to include corrugated products, medical equipment, and PPEs, this project can certainly serve many other purposes in the future.

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Updates

posted an update

EcoFunder is now working with Columbia University undergraduates to optimize the algorithm and implement this in New York City where COVID-19 is prevalent. In addition, these ambitious Columbia students will be introducing the application doctors at CUMC, who will hopefully voice their interest! Also, shoutout to yuttana_sk, for all the help Smurfit Kappa has given us, we hope you enjoy our product!

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posted an update

The Novelty of EcoFunder:

  • Utilizes a matchmaking/recommendation algorithm (factors such as proximity, urgency, and demand) to connect donors (individuals, business) to hospitals (Smurfit Kappa has been creating face shields and temporary wall dividers) in order to solve the infrastructural challenges that hospitals face in terms of backlog and delays in getting equipment -It is versatile as it can also function as a way to reuse corrugated materials as businesses and individuals can be connected manufacturers who are backlogged on this supply of materials (due to COVID-19) through a similar matchmaking process -Donors and Donees are also verified through the information stored in our database; Orders are also approved and submitted to vendors for the B2B as it involves purchasing; Hospitals/Donors/Seekers receive an email confirmation and can track their donation through barcode scanning on a smartphone camera -Ability to summarize and combine orders in order to streamline the process

Tl;Dr: Positive environmental impact through the reuse of corrugated materials, fixes supply chain issues, empowers hospitals to fight COVID-19, helps businesses/manufacturers/individuals in need, saves money

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