Saving The Penguins App


Climate change is probably the single biggest challenge that we as humanity ever faced. While general awareness for climate change seems to be on the rise, it is still something abstract for most of the people and they don't understand how their actions impact the environment.

We thought that a game with penguins is the ideal bait to help people adopt a lifestyle with a smaller carbon footprint.

Inspired by Tamagotchi, we want the user to start out with a healthy penguin colony which increases/decreases in size based on the user's food choices. The working hypothesis (derivated from behavioural psychology) is that a rewards/punishment system leads to a smaller carbon footprint of the users as we make the food choices and impact on the environment tangible.

What it does

The Save the Penguins! App allows a user to log their meals with a picture (take a picture/upload). The app analyzes the ingredients of the meal and upon finishing displays a penguin gif to the user. By proceeding the user gets a rating of his meal choice based on the ingredients of the meal. Depending on the carbon footprint of the meal, the penguin colony increases/decreases. The opportunity to positively impact the health of the penguin colony is only a few hours away for every user by choosing a meal with a smaller carbon footprint.

How we built it

As Jasmin is more experienced than David we split up the work between creating visuals and coming up with the application logic.

In a first step we built a visual skeleton of the app by drafting the Activities. Afterwards, we iterated several times over the UI/UX of the app while simultaneously increasing the application logic and connecting it with a mock backend service.

Challenges we ran into

  • We spent quite some time figuring out how to use the api as we weren't able to send our pictures from the app to their backend. In the end we decided to mock their answer and concentrate on the UI part of our app.

  • There was no library available providing circular charts in a beautiful fashion. We wasted too much time on drafting that instead of aiming for another data visualization which would have been available from open source libraries.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We're proud that we were able to come up with a prototype given the short amount of time and our resources (team of 2 :-) )

What we learned

We learned that at a hackathon one should always consider mocking the data first before spending too much time figuring out how the api correctly works.

What's next for Save The Penguins!

  • Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to develop an MVP and test it at the Zoo Zurich to educate people about their food choices and carbon footprint!

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