Being a team of four first year computer science students who are all participating in a Hackathon for their first times, we had no idea what to expect going in. Our only goals in mind were to make friends, learn things, and get some stickers.

The Journey

For a solid few hours after the hacking started, we had no idea what we were going to make. We ended up singling out 3 ideas, a microwave time calculating app, an idea/teamwork posting app, and a Github for everything app. After calm and peaceful discussions, we decided upon the microwave app, because the idea of using computer vision was just too cool to pass up.

With that, we went straight to work. After a few hours of blood, sweat, and yes, a few tears, we finally got a basic website up and running. At big problem we had was figuring out how to calculate the microwave time accurately, since we couldn't find any data on the microwave time of each food. Our solution for now was to group foods into different categories and just return the time based on what category it was in.

After attending the lecture on the Microsoft bot service, we integrated the technology into our app to create a reheat bot. Instead of just being a web app, users could now send an image through messenger to the bot and get the time that they should microwave the food for. The bot was quite a challenge, since none of us had used Microsoft Azure before and none of us knew C# neither. Somehow, we managed to finish the bot in the end.

Around 3 AM, when we were all half dead, we came up with the solution to implement basic machine learning into our app to get more accurate times. Instead of just getting the time data from a static server file, the data would now modify itself depending on user feedback. With this implementation, the microwave times of each food item would be crowd sourced instead of just defaulting on some preset value, thus making it more accurate.

The Conclusion

After 125 commits, we finally brought the project to an end. Find the Github repository here. We used Clarifai for image recognition and Microsoft Azure to host our back end as well as our chat bot.

Reheat is a web application that takes a picture of food and determines how long it should be microwaved for. The website is mobile friendly, and there is a messenger chat bot for those who don't want to use the website. The app uses basic machine learning with user feedback to adjust the microwave times of each food item. Reheat is the future of microwaves, perfectly heated food is just one click away!

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