Up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. But at the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table. This is also true amongst college students. To address this problem we came up with a solution that helps students share the extra food items they own in exchange of a compensation.
What it does
Through FoodUp, a user can post a picture of a food item they don't want in order to avoid it to go to waste. An example of food item could be canned beans, pack of macaroni, Another user on the application will then be able to see the post and "order" the item if they want it. The whole transaction is free for both parties. The user who wants to get the item will then have to go to the "seller's" location. In order to encourage students to post their items, we have come up with a reward system. Students LOVE free stuff therefore after 5 successful and highly rated transactions the user gets a gift card.
To make this app the most secure possible we have a strong validation system for both the food item and the users: In order to check whether the food is unspoiled and unexpired, we have the user upload a picture of the item, then through google's image recognition api detect if it is a valid food item and not just a random picture. we then have them enter some information such as the expiration date of the item.
To validate the user we have them sign in through facebook. We get their email and public profile information in order to create that community aspect to our application. In addition we also have restaurant owners that can donate food through our application. By donating food they eventually solve their current problem of food waste at the end of the day and they get publicity for their restaurants.
How we built it
We used Ionic and angular 7 to build this mobile platform. Along with the Google Cloud Platform vision api, Real time db, app engine and google maps.
Challenges we ran into
Technical challenges such as picking a framework to work with. We originally started with react native, although it was really hard to achieve what we wanted our app to do in such a short period of time. We then decided to use expo on top of react native which didn't really work out either. Finally we thought using Ionic would be better since we are familiar with Angular.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are incredibly proud that we were able to get a functional product at the end of the hackathon. The features we implemented truly have to potential to solve this huge problem of food waste.
What we learned
Some of us had never used Ionic before. We learned quite a lot about this framework. Other member of our team also learned more about deploying on app engine.
What's next for FoodUp
We would like to enhance the security side of our application to ensure safe delivery of fresh produce. We want to do this by adding a second factor of user verification through phone number. We would also like to use the vision api again to have the user send a picture of the expiration date to double check the produce is in good condition.