Physical health is a valuable but easily spent resource. Not speaking of serious chronic diseases less noticeable threats that can nevertheless affect one’s physical condition and productivity: the common cold, headaches, and nausea are among them. However, among these minor threats, the most distressing one is perhaps food poisoning, which can easily incapacitate a person for at least several days. Out of various reasons contributing to food poisoning the habits of consuming expired food, unintentionally, has the largest share to cause food poisoning. Such a case happened with us too. We consumed an open expired milk pack and suffered for days. The doctor visit resulted in losing several bucks with an advice to consume after checking the expiry date only. Visiting various Reddit and Quora forums we realized that we were not the only ones that consume food without noticing the expiry date and end up in poor health.
So we decided to make a simple skill that can tell us if any of the product is that we pick out from the fridge or cupboard and ask Alexa if that is still consumable or not.
What it does
The skill has 3 features
- to add items and the expiry date corresponding to it, so whenever you return from the supermarket you can list all the items with their respective expiry dates
- to check if an item is expired or not. Whenever you take anything to eat(like some fruit or milk pack) or even any medicine, confirm it first with Alexa.
- to remove an item from the list. Once the item is consumed or thrown you can ask Alexa to remove the selected item from the list
How we built it
The skill was built using Alexa skill kit with the help of many friends and online resources.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge, still exists, is to provide an interface to this skill. We thought of providing a reminder using Alexa only but it was not sure that if there is someone listening to Alexa at that moment. Not to mention there were countless bugs we faced while making the skill.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It is said that prevention is better than cure and we finally have built a skill that will prevent the citizens from consuming rotten food.
What we learned
You don't need an Einstien equation to make a change, even a small idea with a motive of seeing a better society is sufficient to cause a change.
What's next for Expiry Checker
Rather than a feature we want to see this skill as a necessity for users. To improve the interface we have thought of integrating Amazon SNS so that one can get notification via email as soon as a product is going to expire. We were unable to integrate it currently because of lack of resouces and time.