University students often skip out on meals or pursue food only when it's free. For these students, dinner has become an unavoidable expenditure instead of an enjoyable tasty experience. With HomeBites, students can conveniently experience the joys of a warmly cooked meals with interesting company.

What it does

HomeBites connects guests to local hosts/residents who are willing to make a home-cooked meal. In addition, given the commitment of preparing meals, HomeBites has a catering option for hosts who have extra food, ensuring that hosts do not lose money whatsoever. This is ideally suited for university students who want a home-cooked meal as well as travelers who wish to taste authentic local food in a region.

How we built it

HomeBites was built with Microsoft Azure, Node.js, Facebook Messenger and Graph API, Postmates API, and API.AI.

Challenges we ran into

Azure's Machine Learning Studio has problem reading Azure's DocumentDB source. In addition, communication between the Messenger Chatbot and the Azure database often needs to be debugged. The fact that Facebook Messenger's payment method requires several days for Facebook to be approved means we need to seek alternative payment approaches, and neither Capital One nor Coinbase, the available payment APIs, are mainstream enough to reach a wide audience.

Accomplishments we're proud of

The chatbot has a good user interface and is extremely convenient to use.

What we learned

We became more familiar with the Graph and Messenger API in Facebook and Microsoft Azure.

What's next for HomeBites

HomeBites is ready to launch as soon as scalability issues are addressed.

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