With the weather getting colder and homeless shelters reaching capacity, the homeless are at times left outside. Therefore, there is a greater need for them to stay warm and be better equiped for various weather conditions. For this reason, we decided to build a tool to bring the community together in donating items that are not needed by the donators.
What it does
HopeSpot is an Android mobile application used to send items to the homeless through a community system. Each user has the option of submitting items that they would like to give away by simply taking a picture of it. This item is processed using the Google Cloud Vision API, a Machine Learning tool for image labeling, and added to their list of items to donate. When another user detects a homeless person in need of a specific item (ex: coat, blanket, etc.), they can create a notification which automatically sends their location to the people within a specified range, who possess this item. The donator can then make his way to the location and give the homeless the item themselves. HopeSpot allows to bring quicker aid to those in need, break the socioeconomic boundaries between people and bring joy and hope to different areas of the community.
How we built it
The app was built using Android Studio (Java), with hope spots displayed using the Google Maps API and image processing using the Google Cloud Vision API. All displayed information and images were fetched from a Firebase database.
Challenges we ran into
Among a few roadblocks in the process, the biggest challenge we faced was with integrating the Google APIs in a smooth way between different activities in the app.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The team had various skill levels, but everyone contributed equally to the final solution. We're proud to have come as a team to accomplish the first steps of building this tool which solves a growing problem in today's society.
What we learned
The team learned how to work with the Google Cloud Vision API and uploading/fetching the images from Firebase.
What's next for HopeSpot
The HopeSpot team is constantly trying to make the app more user-friendly and more personable to the user. The team is also looking to add a chatbot to interact with the user and make user item collections easier to add.