The Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge is a contest for high school juniors and seniors. The competition has students working to solve a real world problem; this year's contest had to do with food security, and food waste throughout the United States. Our team was inspired to create this application by the M3 Challenge due to the incredibly sobering statistics the challenge revealed. Over 80% of states are able to feed their food-insecure populations if they just implemented ways for food waste to be reallocated. We created ORTrepORT to highlight this statistic, and to encourage others to stay mindful of their food waste and learn strategies to reduce waste in an increasingly more wasteful society.
What it does
The main focus of the app was to help the user be more mindful of their food waste, give them strategies on how to reduce food waste, and to provide reminders to input their approximate food waste per meal. It also provides the user more information about their state's ability to feed its food-insecure population using food waste.
How we built it
We used Android Studio as our main compiler/IDE and used GitHub to version control our code. We ran into a few merge conflicts along the way, but in all honesty, who doesn't? We also have RedBull, Forto coffee shots, and all of the caffeinated snacks and drinks provided to us to thank for helping pull us through developing ORTrepORT.
Challenges we ran into
Development initially was slow; we didn't exactly have a concrete idea of what the application was going to be/what it could be yet, so we spent our time conservatively, carefully pondering our next moves. Over time, we more clearly developed a vision for what ORTrepORT could be, and development speed picked up.
Some challenges we had to face had to do a lot with a library Android Studio uses called "CardView". We had made a plan on how to display the tips to the user; the interface was going to be visually similar to a stack of notecards, allowing the user to swipe though the tips as if they were physically sorting through a set of notecards. Unfortunately, the CardView library was outdated, and wouldn't allow the rest of the program to compile correctly. We sunk a significant portion of our time working with CardView in an attempt to coerce it into working with Android Studio, but after a while, we decided it would be best to cut our losses and implement a different solution in the interest of time. We opted for a very simple list that the user could scroll through, similar to a bulleted list.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud that we were able to go through with this Hackathon strong(most of the time) and learn something new. We are proud that we have made a working app from scratch, some of us for the first time. Individually, we are proud of many things as well. Alexis said that he is proud of the Tracking Interface that the app has and how intuitive it is along with the user interactivity it was able to produce. Nairah said that she is proud of the notifications that the settings had to offer, people forget and so they have to be reminded. Hari said that he is most proud of our group for working as a team and the logo he helped design. Joyce said that she is proud of...
What we learned
We tackled this project using Kotlin, a programming language that runs on Java, however none of us knew it very well, so we took the time building this app to really dig deep and learn the intricacies of this language. We learned Kotlin syntax and reviewed key OOP fundementals while also reviewing basic programming techniques and mastering our problem solving skills. Many of our group members had never used version control software before, so we made sure to show them how to use SourceTree, an application designed to simplify the Git workflow and make it easier for beginners to visually comprehend what is going on in a repository.
What's next for ORTrepORT
We are currently implementing a Dark Mode, this is due to the fact that when a large portion of people "go to bed" and can't sleep, they look at our phones. No one wants to look at a bright screen and be blinded as they peruse through their phones in the dark. Therefore, we are trying to make ORTrepORT user friendly even during the night, encouraging our users to make sure that they check in with the app and plug in their data for the day.
We also plan on adding in functionality to track the food waste data over a prolonged period of time, and to incentivize users to consistently add their data to the app, thus increasing user engagement, and promoting a prolonged relationship with the app.
Also we plan on going further with the Food Tracker side of the app where we can connect the app to a FitBit or a wearable that will take in even more inputs to even more accurately help with lessening an individual's food waste.