Hacker 1: Sean Huggins Hacker 2: Abdullah Baig Hacker 3: Daoud Hamadneh Hacker 4: Terence D'Cruze
We are a group of hackers with a mix set of skills and interest. We officially wanted to work on a project where a camera in a grocery store would be able to recognize a produce item purchased without us manually entering the unique number for the specific item in the self checkout. We then brainstormed on how we can implement the same idea but with a postal delivery service for this specific project.
We feel like postal delivery service companies could do a better job on protecting our personal information shown on the package or envelope that we send/receive. The first thing that came to our mind when tackling this objective about personal information is privacy and security. We always wanted/want to protect our identity as much as possible from strangers. We came up with an idea of how we can keep the identity of the sender/receiver of a mail safe and secure. Our product idea and our app idea came be known as QStamp. Our app doesn’t just provide you with privacy and security, but it also makes handling mail a lot easier by having a QR code embedded with all your personal information that the sender and the receiver can only access. For both senders and receivers of the mail, they will be allowed to make a username in the beginning when creating an account. From the sender’s side, they will be allowed to enter the address of the receiver and will have the option to enter their own as a return address if they want. We made it optional because some sender’s may want to keep their address confidential because the mail may contain something they don’t want others to know. From the receiver’s side, when they receive the mail and scans it using the app, it will only notify them with a message about the sender’s username.
This whole project was a learning experience for us all. For some of us, learning how to access Google Maps API was a first time experience. We learned that there are different ways of implementing and approach things. We learned how to make our project a success by using each of our strengths as assets. Learning some of the tools we used in our project was a bit challenging but our whole understanding was that with a little research and asking for help can solve all the problems.
For back end, we used python, mainly for the unique code generation for QR where we used UUID (Universally Unique Identifier). The UUID’s produce significantly large enough randomly generated keys, so we don’t have to worry about generating the same keys twice. With that, our front end is done in Java with Android Studios. To communicate between our front end and back end, we are using Flask. All our data structures are stored in Firebase. So, all our different users, keys and stamps are all stored on Firebase. For Identifying if the sender is entering a valid address, we will be using the Google Places API. This API will auto complete an address if it is valid. This project was a bit challenging for all of us in many ways, but we overcame them as we went along. One of the main problems was designing and how to go about the flow of the project. We worked on the back end first and then the front end. But designing how we want the app to look and how to implement our unique contents and features was the biggest challenge. Another important task we had to figure out was how to maintain everyone information secure and anonymous. Even if the intended receiver scans the mail, all he/she can retrieve from the scan is the sender’s username unless chose otherwise by the sender. Lastly, finding ways to prevent fraud was another one of our main challenges. If someone that was not the intended receiver of the mail scans the QR code, then the mail will show random gibberish information. The main intent is that the mail QR code can only be scanned and read by the sender and intended receiver.
We realized that a person would most likely want to send the same person mail again. Well, we will be creating a system where they can bookmark the that person or added it to their favorites. Once added, they will be able to chose among their list and send again and again. For our future plans, we would want to implement a Google Maps API, to find the closest postal box and postal office near someone. Another of our future plans is to have a notification sent to us when the desired receiver receives the mail.
Paying for a package being sent will be very different form what is being done now by postal delivery services. You as the end user have the option to input in the app how much your package or envelop may weight or you can leave it blank for the postal office to fill it in for you. When a package arrives at the postal office and scanned by the computer/officer, your package will be measured by an automated machine and will charge you or refund you for the extra or less wight. When you make an account, you can add your personal credit/debit card information. When the machine notices that an incorrect amount of wight was shown, then it will either charge you for the extra wight or refund you if you entered more.