This submission is for the health track.
Over 32 million Americans have food allergies, and for many, these allergies are life-threatening. Going out to eat can be dangerous -- typically, people with allergies have to carefully scan menus when they enter restaurants, and ask if any allergens would be present in their food. We wanted to make this a far more seamless process, where users can safely and quickly find places to eat.
What it does
The user enters their location and selects which food(s) they're allergic to. The app then suggests restaurants to eat at -- when the user clicks on a restaurant, a full menu pops up only showing meals that are safe to eat. Not only can the user click through local restaurants that offer safe food, but can filter out meals that are unsafe for them, making the process far easier for them.
How we built it
The app is a dockerised Flask server connected via SQLAlchemy to a Google Cloud PostgreSQL instance. Our frontend was built with HTML/CSS and interacts with the backend by sending post requests to public endpoints. We used two major APIs:
Challenges we ran into
Moving our changes from local to the cloud was tough... mainly due to having locally built databases and trying to recreate them on the cloud.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In a day, we built up and end-to-end cloud-hosted system that addresses a pressing issue that no other app goes nearly as far in depth with (since we analyze restaurants' menus for ingredients used).
What we learned
We were exposed to many new technologies and quickly picked up skill sets necessary to develop and deploy this app, including (but not limited to) front-end styling and Google Cloud Run deployments. Beyond the coding, we learned how to develop a business solution for an important problem and how to rapidly prototype.
What's next for Meals For Me
We aim to:
- Build our own database to limit external API usage
- Build a more elegant front-end UI
- Allow restaurants to update ingredients to improve accuracy
- Increase opportunities for businesses and consumers.