In our honors class, we had a guest speaker who spoke about the sustainability projects at UMD. This got us thinking about how we could join in the effort, and expand it past our community. 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger daily and approximately one-third of the food produced for global human consumption gets wasted annually. To us, the first step of the solution was obvious, waste less food to feed more people.
What it does
We built a food sustainability app called Leftovers in which a user can input leftover ingredients they have in their food or pantry by taking a photo and generate recipes that use those ingredients. This not only encourages people to use all the food they buy and create less waste, but it also expands their tastes.
How we built it
We used Android Studio, the Google Vision API, and the Edamam Recipe Search API to build our app. We processed the user input from the camera with the vision API to identify the ingredient and added this ingredient to an ArrayList. The user can continue to input ingredients into the app, then press continue. We then processed the ArrayList with the recipe search API and return a list of up to 25 recipes using the ingredients in the list.
Challenges we ran into
We had to experiment with various image recognition APIs including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Rekognition, and Google Vision. This involved learning how to implement each of these, and testing them. We inputted images into each and checked the output. Microsoft Azure couldn't tell the difference between a peach and an orange, Amazon Rekognition returned the color green for broccoli, and Google Vision had the most accurate results.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We built the app from top to bottom, and the Android App Bundle is ready for deployment to the Play Store to be downloaded and used by the community.
What we learned
We learned a lot about UI/UX, as well as the power of pairing image recognition and machine learning to provide simple solutions to real-world issues.
What's next for Leftovers
The next step would be to deploy the app. We would also like to add a reminder feature that will give you a priority list of the ingredients you should use to ensure that they do not expire. This would be accomplished by inputting the ingredients into the app when you buy them and would require the app to store this data until the ingredient expires.