The problem we're solving

Have you ever lost something? Most people have. And it usually ruins your day.

We are aiming to connect people who lose and find things, and reward finders in the process.

Who we are solving for

We are solving this problem for the person that lost their wallet on the train. The Uni student that left their notebook on a bench somewhere. Even the kid that dropped his house key on the way home from school.

We strongly disagree with the traditional ‘finders keepers’ rule.

Solving this problem would make finders into givers, and ensures losers become keepers after all.

A full image of the customer journey with screen flow can be seen at Imgur in a larger size

Customer Journey

Our user personas are as follows

Finders A uni student finds a wallet in a cafe or library area on campus. They are time poor but want to return the wallet to its original owner as they are highly altruistic.


•     Hope that if the same thing happened to them someone would put it in an F&K box 

•     Contribute to a community where trust is leads to less risk in losing expensive  items.  


• To help the the keeper relocate their item using the description they provided

• To receive a small reward to buy a coffee with should the owner find their item or donate the reward to the app.


A staff member/uni student/researcher that visits the campus regularly for meetings or works in the local libraries or cafes with a lot of devices, notebooks, peripheries, loses their wallet


• Avoid replacing expensive items and IDs that require heavy bureaucractic processes

• Reward those that find their items and contribute to a community project. 


• To retrieve their item safely. 

• To retrieve their item conveniently.

• To feel secure in using the application and trust that they are being directed to a safe area to retrieve their item. 

Our Prototype

We have created a platform for finders and keepers. Through a mobile app the ‘Finder’ of an object takes a photo of it and provides an item description. The details include at least a description of the item and three security questions, the answer to which only the finder and the keeper (the person who lost the object would know). These details are not revealed by a photograph. Once these details have been provided, the ‘Finder’ is directed to their closest ‘Finders & Keepers’ box, where they deposit their item and remotely lock the box through the app.

Mobile App

Elsewhere, a soon-to-be ‘Keeper’ is searching for this item. They search the app, providing details of what they’ve lost and where, and any other notable aesthetic features of the item. The ‘Keeper’ is provided with a list of item photos that match their description, and upon selecting an item they are prompted to answer security questions. If they answer correctly, the box’s location is revealed and the ‘Keeper’ can remotely unlock it to collect their item.

(See links below for our Invision Prototype)

How it works

Users access the Finders and Keepers mobile app to deposit or search for lost items. The app is connected to a web server that communicates with a remote deposit box system. After uploading a photo and providing the required amount of data, the finder is is directed to a nearby ‘Finders & Keepers’ box using Maps. After depositing their item and hitting ‘Lock the box’ on the app, the allocated box receives a message from the server and is secured.

Upon searching for a lost item, the app provides the ‘Keeper’ with a list of photos from the image database that match keywords in their search. The ‘Keeper’ selects an image and answers security questions. If incorrect, they are locked out for 10 minutes. If correct, they are provided with the box’s location via maps and they have the ability to ‘Unlock the box’. When this button is pressed, the allocated box receives a message from the server and is unlocked, ready for the item to be collected.

In the future we envisage a reward system where the ‘Keeper’ can choose to tip the ‘Finder’ via PayPal, or opt to ‘buy your Finder a coffee’ through the app. In the event where a ‘Keeper’ does not tip, a small gratuity may be provided by sponsors.

Implementation Description

We chose to implement the prototype of our Finders and Keepers system through creating an Android app, a web server using a RaspberryPi 3+ and a physical box prototype.

The Android app is used by ‘Finders’ to take a photograph of an item, input data and remotely lock the box. Similarly, the app is used by ‘Keepers’ to locate an item, answer security questions and unlock the box. The communication between the application and the web server is done via socketIO, including transmission of images. Currently, item data is stored locally in the app, but in a later development this data would be stored on a database connected to the server. Also, at this stage Maps functionality is representative of what would be involved in a later prototype.

The box houses an ESP8266 micro controller with WiFi capability that communicates wirelessly with the server created on the RaspberryPi 3+. When a lock or unlock button is pressed on the app, this information is passed through the server and the ESP8266 actuates a servo motor to remove the box’s lid. With further development, Finders and Keepers would involve a range of box depositories dispersed throughout the city, each box having their own unique ID and server communication. There is also potential to implement Finders and Keepers through existing infrastructure such as Amazon's locker system or Post Office PO Boxes.

Third Party Materials, APIs and Hardware

RaspberryPi 3+, nodejs, ExpressApp, Android Studio, Android SDK, Lenovo Yoga 3, socketIO, Invision, Sketch, WemosESP8266 Microcontroller, Servo Motor, Cardboard, GitHub, SourceTree, Arduino.

Repository Links

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