We wanted to build an incredibly simple IoT Solution for tracking perishables, so that you'd never waste food due to expiration dates again.
What it does
Through our web app, we keep track of an inventory of time-sensitive items in one’s fridge – Our backend services and databases allow us to sync users’ information across multiple devices: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and even into their smart fridges built-in with Raspberry Pi. A user can scan a receipt of groceries, and ReFresh will tag and aggregate the purchased items and display them with an expiration timer. Users are able to take advantage of Postmates to re-order their food items as the expiration date approaches. Furthermore, ReFresh suggests recipes that use the expiring ingredients and sends text message reminders as items are nearing expiration (via Twilio).
How we built it
We started exploring options in different OCR and NLP APIs such as Algorithmia and Clarifai to read receipts and understand obscure abbreviations. We used the Google Places/Maps API and Postmates API for the re-ordering process. Furthermore, we used the Spoonacular Recipes API for recipe suggestions using soon-to-be expired ingredients.
Challenges we ran into
Integrating APIs and data-synchronization throughout cross-platform environments (Client, Server, Middleware, Asynchronous learning algorithms. This was the greatest challenge we faced as a team overall – with varying levels of experience and areas expertise, we collaborated incredibly closely in building an entirely cohesive, practical and well-thought out product. From aggregating the strengths of OCR algorithms and applying ML with natural language recognition to our highly interactive and universal Node web app, we forced ourselves to be practical and learn quickly.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Besides the honor of teaming together from across the world, (one of us flew, and bussed all the way from England!) We’re particularly excited to have been able to learn about so many practical APIs at such a deep technical understanding. We were particularly pleased with how we were able to compile so many different complicated sources of data, and aggregate them, simply, and beautifully summarized on our website.
What's next for ReFresh
Implement true IoT solution using RaspberryPi and integration with smarthome technologies.