One way to create innovation is to look in places that haven't been touched by technology. What I noticed was that there wasn't a very attractive way for people to search for shelter cats, and given the burden on shelters in the US, they need all the marketing they can get. Also, there was no service that ran a reverse image search to find shelter cats ...I found this really surprising. And so, I set out to create such a service.
What it does
The app lets you search for shelter cats based on an image and a zipcode. It returns with a list of cats in your area, complete with their names, bios, and a link to Petfinders.com to look into adopting the cat.
How I built it
It's built on an Express backend and a Materialize frontend. It uses the google vision API to get the breed and size of the uploaded cat.
Challenges I ran into
For some reason I was really particular with the upload form so I spent hours on getting that just right, trying different frameworks. In the future I really have to prioritize my tasks.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I was worried about the limitations of the google vision library but it does make a good guess for the breed, and after some of the tests I've done, I can get fairly good matches, which is wasn't what I expected. I think out of any hackathon I've been to I've worked the hardest at MHacks because, as a proud owner of 4 cat, this project means a lot to me personally.
I really do believe in the viability of this app, and I wonder what impact it could have if I keep working on it.
What I learned
I learned how to use Materialize, which is, not-surprisingly, very similar to Bootstrap. I'm getting more familiar with Node.Js and web technologies in general: I'm trying to move away from hardware hacks.
What's next for FelineFelicity
I want to incorporate machine learning libraries such as tensorflow in order to improve the search results. I think moving away from the Petfinder's API would be a good step as they permit only a certain number of requests per month, and I think with a true scraper could help get more cats on the platform. I want to continue improving on this because I do believe that there is more than enough room for technology in the pet world, and maybe as a result more cats will find good homes.
I should probably mention that it's not hard to make this for dogs as well, for you dog lovers out there.
Overall, great experience, it being my first MHacks and all :)