UniFynd was born out of our personal experience as first-year students navigating the complexities of UCLA campus life. We understood the challenges that students face in finding resources and services on campus, and saw the need for a comprehensive platform that could simplify and streamline these tasks. Our goal was to create an elegant solution that could foster a more connected campus community and enhance the daily lives of Bruins. By consolidating key features such as peer-to-peer exchanges and event listings into a single app, UniFynd empowers students to make the most of their time at UCLA and build meaningful connections with their fellow Bruins.
What it does
UniFynd is a dynamic and innovative mobile application that caters to the multifaceted needs of the UCLA community. Our marketplace feature provides a unique platform for students to leverage their skills and services to connect with their peers in need. Whether it be photography services for a LinkedIn photoshoot, essay review, or textbook sales and exchange, our app offers a safe and reliable channel for Bruins to engage with each other and meet their academic and personal needs.
The app's club database is a testament to our commitment to fostering a vibrant and connected community at UCLA. By offering a centralized platform for all clubs and organizations to showcase their upcoming events and performances, we provide Bruins with an unparalleled resource to stay informed about the latest happenings on campus. Our mapped locations feature further simplifies the process, allowing users to quickly find events happening in their vicinity with just a few clicks.
The dining feature is yet another testament to our commitment to optimizing the campus experience for Bruins. By leveraging data from the UCLA website and cutting-edge computer vision technology, UniFynd provides users with real-time information about dining hall occupancy, making mealtime planning a breeze. Additionally, our computer vision technology streamlines the process of food ordering, reducing wait times and minimizing food waste.
UniFynd is more than just an app - it's a movement. We are committed to bringing the UCLA community together by providing innovative solutions that foster connection, convenience, and collaboration. Whether you're a first-year student trying to navigate the complexities of college life or a seasoned Bruin looking to optimize your campus experience, UniFynd has something to offer for everyone.
How we built it
At UniFynd, our two-person team used Flutter, a mobile app development framework created by Google, to build our cross-platform app. Flutter allowed us to create a visually stunning, high-performance app with a fast development cycle. Our team also employed Firebase to enable real-time data synchronization and enhance the overall reliability of the app. Additionally, we utilized Google Maps API to implement the location-based features of the app, allowing users to easily find and attend events and connect with other Bruins in their area. Overall, our development process was driven by our passion for innovation and our commitment to creating an app that truly serves the needs of the UCLA community.
Challenges we ran into
Our team overcame a number of technical challenges in the development of UniFynd. The first challenge was to implement Computer Vision (CV) in Python using OpenCV, a complex and powerful image processing library. We also needed to integrate CV with a live video feed, requiring expertise in real-time video processing techniques.
Our next challenge was to integrate the OpenCV code with Firestore, a powerful NoSQL database that can handle large amounts of unstructured data. We then had to link this database with the app, which required careful consideration of security and data privacy concerns.
In addition to these challenges, we had to deploy NoteJS to an API, which involved setting up a scalable and reliable backend infrastructure to support the app's features. Finally, we had to ensure that UniFynd was cross-platform, able to run seamlessly on iOS, Android, and the web, which required extensive knowledge of mobile app development frameworks and programming languages.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Despite the numerous technical challenges, our team was able to complete UniFynd in just 12 hours using the Flutter framework, a testament to our coding prowess and teamwork. We are proud of the fact that we were able to leverage cutting-edge technologies such as Computer Vision and Firestore to deliver a highly-functional and intuitive app that enhances the UCLA student experience.
We are also immensely proud of the progress we made with UniFynd, especially considering that we were both beginners in app development. Through sheer determination and a willingness to learn, we were able to build a sophisticated app that addressed real-world problems faced by UCLA students.
We are excited to continue working on UniFynd and bringing it to the public, and we hope that it will make a positive impact on the UCLA community.
What we learned
What's next for UniFynd
Moving forward, our team at UniFynd is committed to improving the user experience and expanding the app's capabilities. We plan to enhance our computer vision technology, making it more sophisticated and faster, allowing for a more robust and seamless handling of large inputs.
In addition, we aim to integrate extensions like Hotseat into our academic/class planning section, providing a more data-driven approach for students in planning their schedules.
To ensure the app's reliability and legitimacy, we plan to collaborate with clubs and UCLA administration to populate the database and establish a verification process for student vendors and student clubs, making UniFynd a trusted platform for the UCLA community.
At UniFynd, we are committed to providing Bruins with a comprehensive, innovative, and user-friendly platform that enhances their experience and empowers them to connect, collaborate and thrive.
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