We were inspired to create this application as one of our team mates worked at a chicken restaurant and noticed that an obscene amount of food was thrown out every day. After further discussion, we realized that this problem of food waste stems much farther than just restaurants and nearly affects every american household. Most families throw away numerous pounds of fresh produce and canned goods each year, soley because they either buy too much food or can not find a use of the product. Our application is the solution to this problem.
What it does
Our application is designed to allow the user to re purpose surplus ingredients and unwanted foods into a variety of different delicious recipes. By combining the google-cloud machine learning apis and numerous different websites, our app allows our users to scan the bar code of there products and receive numerous different recipes based on different combinations of ingredients.
How I built it
We built the application using Android studio, with its core functions utilizing the numerous api's from the google cloud suite. We then proceeded to construct a web Scrapper to look for the product names while given only the barcode. Finally we interfaced with numerous website and database apis to receive the widest selection of different recipe recommendations.
Challenges I ran into
Throughout the entire process my team ran into numerous roadblocks the largest being implementing the UPC code search as the was no free database online. This lead up to us instead attempt to create a webScrapper in order to access the product information. This took nearly an entire day just learn how to accomplish the feat and many more hours to make it work reliably. Luckily it paid off as we now have a very reliable webScrapper.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm very proud of my entire team mainly because we are entirely composed of freshman, collectively have very little hackathon experience and we all lacked any experience in Android Studio and Kotlin. Despite this were able to build a production level app in the span of roughly a day and a half. This really showed all of us that if anyone really wants to really build any related to computer science its possible to by using free online resources.
What I learned
I learned that despite many of the teams having large amounts of experience, often time the teams that seemed to have the most promising Ideas had relatively little experience. I believe that this is due to not really knowing the limitations of the software that they are using allowing the teams to be more creative in there brainstorming. In addition I also learned that not only is programming fun but it is also just as if not more impact than the legislation when it comes to making social change. With the ability to create anything, one can truly change the world.
What's next for nutriCycle
Since, My entire team surprisingly attends the University of Maryland(we met here), we are planning on continuing development of this product upon leaving. Our first plan of action is adding raspberry pi integration to the device to be able to directly keep inventory of the products in ones fridge allowing for a consistent steam of potential recipes, further reducing the amount of food wasted. We believe that with our skill and dedication certain larger companies such as whole foods and amazon pantry can implement our products to not further automate there systems but to enhance the shopping experience with potential NFC implementations in the future.
P.S. Thank you for giving us the ability to attend this hackathon, its been an absolutely great time and we will definitely becoming back as a team next year!