We were inspired by a statistic that roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. Our goal was to find a way to reduce food waste in an efficient and organized process. We set out to create a smart fridge to accomplish this goal and by implementing Watson's Visual Recognition API and various other technologies.
What it does
Hack the Fridge is a smart fridge which takes pictures of items put into it, keeps track of their expiry date, and gives recipe ideas in an effort to reduce food waste. The fridge takes a picture of each food item as it is placed in the fridge and compiles a list of possible recipes based on that item and the items already in the fridge. It also records the date each food item was added and keeps track of their expiry.
How we built it
To create the fridge itself, we dumpster dived outside of E5 to look for cardboard boxes and found plenty. The fridge is made entirely from materials found at Hack the North, including all the food items we used. We took pictures using a Raspberry Pi and camera with Python and sent them to a Node.js server on AWS. Each food item was stored as an object using MongoDB, the data was then presented on an iOS app created with Swift.
Challenges we ran into
The Watson API Visual Recognition proved to be too accurate in some cases. For example, when given an image of a pear, Watson would return a specific type of pear (Anjou), this added a level of difficulty into finding more general recipes. Another challenge was finding food items to take pictures of as the minimal selection of fruits and chip bags in E5 made for limited recipes.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of making a very fun and useful product, we are particularly proud of making the actual fridge out of materials in and around E5 alone. We were also proud of combining both hardware and software components into our hack and integrating them seamlessly.
What we learned
We learned that most of the time, the solutions to the most difficult problems are often the simplest.
What's next for Hack The Fridge
Make a real fridge???