One of the most banal and annoying problems that we expected when we left home was that we had to do shopping weekly, such as buying washing powder, shampoo, some food and snacks, and in the haste of the academics and freshmen life, it was often the case that we kept forgetting shopping.
What it does
We decided to create a IoT gadget that wouldn't cost a fortune, yet something that would allow us to keep a track of things that we need to buy every week/month, and even best, get those items delivered to our door with a few clicks.
How we built it
Our idea consists of a Raspberry Pi powered device whose sole purpose is to read the barcodes of the items we are disposing, and send it to our backend, which is the second part of our idea that does the heavy-lifting, such as getting the detailed product info from a single barcode, placing weekly automatic orders, managing a database of items we've disposed etc, along with a simple front-end that enables us to manage things.
Challenges we ran into
- Using Raspberry Pi's camera was really challenging, due to:
- Fixed focus
- Low resolution
- Insufficient processing power for computer vision (i.e. barcode detection!)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- We think our idea really has the potential, and we find it actually useful.
What we learned
- Low-level programming is hard (and we started acknowledging and appreciating all those abstractions we were unaware of).
What's next for IoTrash
- Using a USB-connected laser-poweered barcode scanner instead of a camera.
- The idea can be enhanced further if our product could recognise other consumables without barcodes (e.g. fruits).
- Add other suppliers as well (currently only Amazon, but it would be great to have other retailers that delivers to your door).