The efficiency of food security and waste is one of the most pressing issues in the world today. Specifically, the United States throws out more than 1,250 calories per day per person or more than 400 pounds of food per person annually. That’s a loss of up to $218 billion each year according to the National Resource Defense Council, and that’s about the same as the 2018-2019 state budget for Texas - who knew one man’s trash is the state’s treasure. At the same time, 42 million Americans face food insecurity—and less than one-third of the food we throw out would be enough to feed this population completely. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), [“food waste produces about 3.3 billion tons of carbon footprints a year.”] Furthermore, some of us are incoming college freshman, and we are in a financial ditch to afford food. Therefore, we made this app to solve all these problems.
What it does:
Spoodle is a mobile app for people and restaurant owners to sell their leftover food to people at a discounted price, and donate the rest to homeless shelters, students, etc. Using a real-time marketplace for leftover food, restaurants can show what extra food they have and sell a discounted price in order to bring in extra cash rather than just throwing the food away. Spoodlers would have access to viewing all the discounted menu items throughout areas or a the desired restaurant, which allows them to select cheaper food quicker and smarter than before. Spoodle also provides an analytics page for the businesses to view their total revenue over the past week, while also offering an algorithm that determines the percentage of which a business should either increase or decrease the production of food in order to reduce food waste and/or increase its profits. Additionally, by partnering with homeless shelters in the future, this would allow for food leftovers to be picked up by them to implement a zero-waste community. Basically, companies make money, students and homeless shelters save money, and the Earth gets cleaner.
Challenges we ran into:
This was the first time our interface designer used Android Studio, so we faced some challenges getting used to it, especially since he was unfamiliar with XML. Furthermore, this was the first time the Android developers utilized the Google Maps API and PayPal Android SDK, which required extensive research into the documentations for them. Also, in terms of the C.R.U.D. (Create, Read, Update, Delete) functionality, in order to optimize our HTTP Requests we had to utilize a new Android HTTP Library named Volley. Lastly, for the design and tri-fold board presentation, our team pulled an all-nighter creating a tri-fold board presentation while our digital designer spent hours drawing the logo.
Accomplishments that we’re proud of:
The primary accomplishment of Spoodle is the selling of excess amounts of food from restaurants, which was achieved through research and efforts of our fellow teammates. Particularly the database connection with the server and client-side was an intriguing accomplishment that the team took hours to program. Another accomplishment was the designing of the logo since that required high definition vector graphics within Adobe Photoshop CC, which in the end became an exemplary result. Finally, although we are high schoolers that were intimidated by the adults and college students around the hackathon, we worked as a team to boost confidence and produce an app that took everyone’s efforts into consideration.
What we learned:
Since this was our designer’s first time using Android Studio, he learned how to utilize the XML views and integrate them with Adobe Photoshop CC while incorporating designs into the user-interface builder. Furthermore, the programmers learned how to incorporate server-side with a client-side Java program using a faster asynchronous requestor - Volley - than multi-threaded requests in Java. Also, the programmers had never utilized the PayPal Android SDK nor the Google Maps Android API, so they learned the documentation and researched the possibilities within the respective APIs. Moreover, the entire team learned the value of time management during hackathons when developing mobile applications like Spoodle.
What’s next for Spoodle:
Spoodle is aimed at providing affordable food from restaurants, fast food chains, and other registered vendors to users. With this idea in mind, the Spoodle team plans to expand through commercializing the app and form partnerships with organizations to take part in this venture. Moreover, partnerships with colleges, homeless shelters, and companies such as UberEats are the next stage of Spoodle’s operation. The Spoodle real-time marketplace will turn waste into profit and will be operational across a variety of economies.
Spoodle is protected under Section 107 of the Copyright Act for fair use. The application’s in-app billing, assets, and sources were all developed for “non-profit educational purposes” at EarthHack 2018: a non-profit fair for “social good and technology.”