The inspiration of this project comes from our own student lives. We travel and live in several cities for work, school, and of course, where our families live. Sorting things into recycling and compost can be easy to mess up if you're not attentive to your municipality's by-laws.
Did you know black colored plastic isn't recyclable in Toronto? Ordered pizza recently? That greasy pizza box goes in the garbage (or sometimes compost) and definitely not recycling!
What it does
Our native Android app identifies objects using our phone's camera and will tell the user which bin to put them depending on their municipality's by-laws.
User's can take a pictures of objects and use their current location or type in a different city to see where they can dispose of it.
How we built it
Using Android Studio and a few Google APIs! Our team divided and conquered these tasks dividing the tasks based on complexity since none of us have ever made an app or worked with API's before.
With the amazing Google API, we are able to find the location of the users using Maps and recognize objects using the Cloud Vision API.
Challenges we ran into
Some of the Major challenges we ran into:
Integrating Android Studio with Google Cloud Vision API There seemed to be a lack of documentation on the parts of the Cloud Vision API we wanted to use which made it even more difficult to integrate it into Android Studio
Merging individual projects together
Reading files in Android Studio The city of Toronto provided an excel file for the public to use and we wanted to use this as our method of getting data on the disposal methods for different things. However, accessing the information in this file turned out to be more difficult than originally planned and we opted for another method.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Since all four of us new to app development and using API's, we're proud to say we have a finished product! We all became more familiar with Android Studio and learned how much API's can really save us time in back-end development.
What we learned
- It is critical to identify what needs to be done by your team and what can be done by API's.
- With proper communication and good version control, progress can be fast tracked.
- Java and all that object oriented goodness.
What's next for Recycle Sorting
There is a lot of potential for this app to make a well known issue into something interesting and at the same time, potentially save municipalities millions of dollars. Cities spend a lot of money sorting waste and if the population of these cities spent just a little bit more time sorting, momentous change could happen especially for new developing cities where investment in post collection sorting. If everybody did their part, cities could divert funds from waste management other public sector services such as improving quality of community centres.
- More supported municipalities
- Web scraping or reported data on how to dispose of different things to gather more info
- Improve the GUI with interesting designs and better flow of pages
- Support more devices and platforms (IOS)