Food posts and digital food trends have always taken the world of social media by storm. People frequently post pictures of their food online, and follow up on the latest food related trends. However, we often don't realize the significance of the production of food in relation to the environment. For the many foods we enjoy, the environment must pay the price, suffering from excessive carbon emissions. Our application which keeps track of your carbon footprint from the food we eat. Supplant allows making eco-friendly choices enjoyable, and convenient.
What it does
Our product revolutionizes the way we keep track of our carbon footprint by developing a mobile application that identifies ingredients of a meal, and calculates the carbon emitted to produce that meal, providing the user with eco-friendly ratings to push them to choose healthy food for both themselves, and for the environment.
How we built it
The application was developed using a react native, a universally used JS framework for building cross platform applications for android and ios. We used react native in a combination with Typescript, a open source language which adds strong typing to vanilla JS, and expo, an open source platform for building react native applications used to simplify development. The application features a clean, easy to use UI, as well as efficient and meaningful backend to process images and and fetch information of carbon emissions.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, we had a plan in mind with what API's we wanted to utilize in order to process the images of the user. The first API (Clarifai) worked well but moving forward, we realized that the second API (Eaternity) was not nearly as great. This second API had very confusing documentation and caused us to lose a relatively significant amount of time that could have been better spent on other productive means. Due to this roadblock in progress, we were effectively forced to resort to web-scrapping in order to construct our own database regarding food and carbon-density. Internet and technical issues between members of the team also proved to be rather inconvenient and as such, were challenges that we had trouble resolving.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
There are two main accomplishments that our team is proud of. Our user interface in particular, turned out to be very successful in being both clean, atheistically pleasing, practical, and easy to both use and navigate. As a key component in our project, getting the Clarifai API to function properly with the application is another accomplishment that we are very proud of. Seeing as how the API took many attempts and trials to get working, it was definitely also one of the more challenging accomplishments.
What we learned
There were a number of things that our team learned from the process. The most notable thing that we learned was that time management and organisation are subtle but key factors when it comes to working on an application (especially in the short time span of a hackathon). We, unfortunately, did learn this the hard way seeing as how there were a few decisions and mistakes that we made along the way which caused us to lose valuable time.
What's next for supplant
We believe that our product has a lot of potential and room for both improvement and adjustments. Firstly, it would come quite obviously that we would want to continue expanding our food-carbon database by either scrapping informative sites on the topic or other pre-exisiting databases. By this same token, we would also want to make sure that we continue to update our own database in order to provide the most accurate information possible. Database aside, we would also look into providing a "health" aspect to the application as well, possibly letting the user know if their meal is healthy or not (ingredients, nutrients, calories, etc.).