I was inspired by a conversation I had with my mom at the "peak" of the outbreak. She was trying to decide when the best time to go out for groceries was. Seeing reports in the news, and hearing from friends and family, it seemed that some times were much busier than others, but there was no way of knowing which time would be packed, or completely vacant.
What it does
Safe Store is a mobile app designed to help people decide when the safest time is to go shopping. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, many communities have placed restrictions on what people are permitted to leave their house for. Since the virus can spread when in close proximity to others, it is safest to go into public spaces when fewer people are present. Safe Store provides users with a list of grocery stores nearby, and for each store, Safe Store will recommend a shopping time that is currently projected to be least busy. It then asks when users are going shopping and updates the suggested times for the following users accordingly. Moreover, Safe Store has backend features to help ensure that immunocompromised individuals will be at the least populated stores.
How we built it
To build the backend, we used Python Django to make a REST API. We then deployed this on Heroku and configured the free-tier PostgreSQL database to hold the grocery store data. When we receive a request from a location that has not yet been uploaded to our database, we use the Google Places API to find a set of grocery stores nearby, and then save these to the database. Our frontend was constructed using React Active, and it is configured for both Android and iOS.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, there was some miscommunication as to which platform we would be using to develop the app. This led to some time wasted attempting to configure several systems on various machines that were never actually used in the final product. It was hard to make sure our application would work on both platforms.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We’re proud that we were able to brainstorm, plan, develop and test this application in the span of 24 hours. We all have different computer science backgrounds, and we were very successful in using our strengths while teaching our teammates throughout the development cycle.
What we've learned
We expanded our knowledge of react native and integrating APIs, along with the interfacing between a front end and back end style app development.
What's next for Safe Store
In the future, there are several features we would like to add. These include: creating a web interface, adding a reporting feature for store employees to report data in real time, creating an AI algorithm to predict the best times, and implementing Google Map’s data indicating popular times.
Our goal with Safe Store is to bring communities together (while keeping them at a safe distance) though sharing this basic information. In doing so, everyone is safer, and the world can return to normal even sooner.