While trying to think of an idea that fits within the theme of "smart-city", we were throwing out a lot of ideas on the table trying to think of something that hasn't been made "smart". While there are smart fridges, there is not a way to tell what is within your fridge when you're out shopping or an application that tells you if your items are really expired without going on a Google deep dive.
What it does
Our website allows the user to make an account and input their groceries that they have bought into their account. It shows them the expiration date for the inputted food, and since the groceries are manually inputted and saved into the account, it also shows the available groceries that you have in your pantry at home.
How we built it
We collaborated in CodePen and discussed extensively in slack with each other to correct our work and brainstorm ideas. By splitting frontend layout and design and backend code between different members of our team, we were able to effectively collaborate while making the most of our individual talents. We used a variety of technologies that came together to enable our final product, including html+css to create the layout and design, the flask web framework in python to implement the logic, and the mysql database server to store data such as login sessions and users' added items.
Challenges we ran into
A challenge that we ran into was figuring out what features we wanted on the website and how we wanted to implement them. Although we had a specific layout on how we wanted it to look like, we eventually had to work around to what we could make work and which parts of the website we were having trouble on. Initially, we wanted to get an API that could recognize the words on a receipt accurately. After failed attempts, we decided to work around it and start looking at Google's Cloud Vision API.
Another challenge we had was hosting. At first we looked into the Google Cloud Platform, but after a lot of trial and error we found it to be too complex for our app at its current stage of development, and thus ultimately switched to hosting via an instance on DigitalOcean.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to complete a website from scratch and get a domain after lots of trouble with payment issues. We have all learned and practiced HTML and CSS while completing the project. We're also proud of the way we managed to get our ideas off the ground and integrate a variety of different technologies to create our complete project.
What we learned
We all learned so many things from each other from the group we paired ourselves in. Everyone had different things to contribute within our group and we had some input in this project. We learned a lot from each other, especially from the ones who knew how to code in HTML and CSS.
What's next for Smarter Groceries
We have many ideas for features and improvements to make Smarter Groceries even better at helping users get the most out of their groceries. We hope to grow and help people keep track of the food they have that might expire and what groceries they have at home to prevent purchasing an extra amount of a product that was already in their pantry. If we continue with this in the future we would like to implement more features such as, prompting the user with ideas that they can make with the food they have (already done on multiple sites), and add more food choices with a database of expiration information, nutrition, price trends, and more. By expanding the current desktop-oriented website to work better on other platforms, such as cell phones and tablets, we aim to let users better access their groceries wherever they go. Furthermore, by proactively notifying users about expiration dates, product recalls, and other issues, we hope that the app will be able to ensure users are safe and secure with their groceries.