Stolen mail, ripped doors… Identity theft is a scourge that unfortunately affects more and more residential buildings. Thieves usually simply open them using a master key. Another common issue is residents sharing the building access cards/fobs through the mailboxes, rendering your premises unsecured. Duplicating the mailbox metal key is a simple and cheap feat, allowing thieves to easily bypass your access control system when your building is equipped with unduplicable access cards or fobs. It is, therefore, necessary to secure your mailboxes to prevent any theft or damage.
What it does
SafeMail is a theft prevention system that uses facial recognition and identifies whether it's the authorized user or not and then unlocks the mailbox or cash counter. It informs the user, logs the image of the perpetrator on a dashboard, and finally tweets potential mail or cash theft on a neighborhood Twitter.
How we built it
We used the following technologies for the different parts of the system.
- Frontend: HTML5, Bootstrap 5
- Backend: Python, MySQL, SQLite, Google Cloud Vision API for Face Recognition, Azure Face Detection API
- Hardware: Arduino, C++
- Deployment: Vercel
- Version Control: GitHub
Challenges we ran into
Some challenges we ran into were that we lived in different time zones, so it was tough to coordinate work when we were not all up at the same time. Additionally, we found it difficult at first to figure out the compatibility of different technologies, as we all have experience with various tech stacks that usually don't go together. However, we managed to overcome these obstacles through hard work and dedication to create this wonderful app!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're proud that we managed to complete all the features we wanted to include in the MVP, including facial recognition, authorization, box unlocking, user notification, dashboard logs, and tweet alerts.
What we learned
We learned a lot about using MySQL and SQLite for our database and configuring it with Python! We also learned about using the different face recognition APIs, which were super cool.
What's next for SafeMail
In the future, we would love to test the app live with some actual users and a fully-fledged app with the ability to register and log in as different users!