Here is how I got the idea. I once forgot my laptop charger at the library in University. It took me 3 days to find it at the end, because there is no way to contact me, for a person who finds it. I could have written my name, mobile number and contact information on it, but it is embarrassing because every sees it. So I thought how can I solve this problem and are there any existing one. I could find that there isn't any existing solution. So I focused on it. What I need is something everybody can easily see, but cannot contact me or bug me throw it. I think it may look like a encryption problem too. I alway enjoyed compiling innovating solutions to problems, so I got a solution and here we are.
What it does
When a user create an account in If-Found-Lost.com he get a globally unique numeric id which is short to be easily rememberable and writable. So if the id is 7766 it makes a URL, www.If-Found-Lost.com/7766. So instead of private contact information this is what he writes or prints on his items. For example he can write it in his books, in the keytag of his backpack or in his quadcopter. The name If-Found-Lost is there to make the intuition that what should you do "if you found this lost". So lets say Ann found my charger so she just has to go to that link and need to enter the best way to contact her as it asks. She does not need any login or create an account, just to go trough a captcha. Then I will get the message right away to my inbox in If-Found-Lost, saying Ann has found this and this is the way to contact her. So I am the one who decides whether to contact her or not. So I am directly contacting Ann and getting it, and I did not expose my privacy details to the public. Here is another thing, I thought how to expand this as a business. For an unique id given by the website, we'l say it as IFL(stands for If-Found-Lost id). So If my packpack or music player coming with an IFL built-in, I do not have to write my id on it. Just as we login to warantee information, after buying that item we go to If-Found-Lost.com and link that IFL with our account. This gives manufactures a competitve advantage, becuae lets say switss gear is joining with us and with every backPack it comes with a uniqueID printed and it makes their backPacks globally findable without exposing the privacy of the owner.
How I built it
I am using MeteorJS and mongoDB for databases. Using semantic-ui to give it a nice look and some fast rendering. Using google recaptcha for authentications where it does not need to sign in. Created the website to look and feel simple as possible which makes users happy.
Challenges I ran into
I had to build this on my own without teammates, because we are having an exam tomorrow and everybody is busy with that. So I worked straight 24 hours to implement this. Meteor makes is great and most importantly fun to develop. I was familiar with C++ and Java before, so this was a real fun to do. It took me time to make videos and stuff because I did all individually in a limited time. But the hackathon was one hell of a fun.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
If-Found-Lost is now a fully working product. Currently serving at if-found-lost.meteor.com. This is an idea that I had me for few months, So I am proud that I could finally implement it, and get support to run a possible innovative business with it in the future.
What I learned
I leaned the insight of how Meteor work, the things that I haven't know and this is awesome.
What's next for If-Found-Lost
The site is currently serving at If-Found-Lost.meteor.com, so first next thing is to serve it on a separate server for If-Found-Lost.com. Next plan is to build a userbase for the website and to talk with backpack, purse, quadcopter, etc; manufactures to sell them the service of If-Found-Lost.com at a price per IFL.