Being new university students, we realized the many challenges associated with dealing with lost items, from both the perspective of the one who loses the an item and the person who finds it. We personally experienced this challenge when we found someone's wallet and were unsure about the best way to proceed. In addition, we can only imagine what it would be like to be the one who has lost a value item like a wallet or student card. This is what inspired us to find a functional solution to the common and difficult problem of losing items on campus.
What it does
We created a web application that allows people to report items they find that they suspect someone else misplaced. They provide information about the specifics of the item, the name on the lost item if available, and their own name and contact information. People can access the web application and search for keywords about a lost item to check if their item has been found.
How we built it
We built the web application using the MERN stack, specifically react for the frontend and express and node for the backend and MongoDB for the database.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge we had was handing the image upload feature for lost items. In addition to this, we ran into other issues dealing with bugs in the code that took us time to fix.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Overall, we are pleased that we were able to implement our initial idea in a way that contributes towards solving a problem. We are especially pleased with how we were able to implement the item searching algorithm. We spent a lot of time on this as we felt it is important for the searching to be accurate and user-friendly because this is how people find their item.
What we learned
We were relatively new to React going into the project, so we learned quite a lot about this through the frontend component as well as how to effectively integrate with the backend. We also learned more about implementing more complex algorithms on the backend especially as it relates to string manipulation which we used for the item searching feature.
What's next for uFind
The main additional feature that we would like to implement in the future is some kind of registration system that is set up in way where people can register to receive an email when an item that is suspected to be theirs is found. We think that this would be a helpful feature for users so that they do not need to search for the an item that they lost until they find it on the site, but rather receive an email notifying them. We would also like to add the ability to upload an image to help people identify their lost belongings.