Recently, as a safety measure during the pandemic, grocery stores have been allowing a limited amount of customers into their store at a time. While this action was meant to reduce crowding, crowds have been forming in another place on a store's property: outside. To address these long lines outside of grocery stores, our team created QSafe, an app that revolutionizes lines during COVID-19 with its efficiency and safety precautions.
What it does
QSafe is an app that streamlines the process of lining up by allowing users to line up from the comfort of their cars, away from the heavy crowds that have become a typical sight due to COVID-19. Customers can view waiting times and the number of people currently in line for stores near them to help them decide whether it's worth getting in line, just like how people would in a physical line. Users can queue up by joining a line at a click of a button and receive notifications when it's their turn to enter the store. QSafe is easy to use from a store's perspective as well through the features that allow managers to update the store's line from their end.
How I built it
Two of our team members, Tina and Shubham, were completely new to using Flutter and Dart and our other team member, Alayna, has worked with this software for experimental apps in the past, but hasn't been able to successfully use Firebase for authentication. We wanted to use Flutter/Dart because it is cross platform, allowing us to easily collaborate during RookieHacks. We used JSON files to store our data about grocery stores and used Firebase to implement the notifications feature for QSafe.
Challenges I ran into
We approached this project by dividing up app features amongst each other, so we each ran into our individual setbacks. For example, for the Feed feature, we had some issues with the "Join Line" button for each different store location. We were able to overcome this particular challenge by adding a tracker for each individual store in the JSON file.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of successfully collaborating with each other one this project despite all being in different timezones (CST, EDT, and IST)! In addition, we are happy that we learned about how to position Widgets in Flutter because it allowed us to develop a better UI.
What I learned
Our team learned about Flutter and Dart and automating processes using Firebase.
What's next for QSafe
We would like to expand our app to other types of businesses than grocery stores, such as autoshops or post offices, since we believe that our app has potential to keep lots of people safer during and after the quarantine, as well as to maximize efficiency for errands. In addition, we would like to implement a system to recommend similar stores that carry items a user needs with a shorter wait time. We hope to use the Google Maps API in order to help visualize distances to other stores and wait times for customers.