Welcome all to the spring semester. With classes driving into full gear, so is the NYU FREEdge. Starting next week, the FREEdge’s progress will be entering a rapid prototyping stage, where we will consider and compare all of the prototype options that we’ve developed in the fall semester and have yet to test. Jumpstarting this effort, the grant (and invaluable Blackstone coaching) we are honored to receive from Phase II of NYU’s Prototyping Fund, will help us pursue our ultimate goal of expanding a successful prototype to NYU’s Washington Square campus.
Despite our efforts, however, a technological hurtle has halted our current prototype, using a touchscreen-enabled Raspberry Pi to conduct our “smart” user experience. We are unable to connect to NYU’s Wi-Fi network, rendering our data and live feed of the FREEdge purely local. As a result, we cannot currently provide live coverage of the FREEdge to Share Meals, as we had anticipated. Nevertheless, we are not deterred. Roadblocks allow us to take a step back and reassess previous problems and their solutions to improve upon the model in a way that resolves both current and previous issues; we WILL resolve the connectivity problem. We will retest our user interface with an iPad, which will allow us to bypass our current connection issues, as well as redesign the U.I. with a more streamlined experience.
The second Sandwich Packathon, hosted by Share Meals at Kimmel Center this past Sunday, brought in over 50 surplus sandwiches, further emphasizing the need for the NYU FREEdge in advancing the impact of free-food and affordability initiatives. Therefore, we will move on to light prototyping and data collection with a simple sticky note and color code system. In the meantime, we will investigate workarounds for the Wi-Fi issue and pursue organizational sponsorships for more cleaning supplies, food containers, and additional refrigerators. We also need YOUR feedback. Let us know what you think about the cleaning and packing supplies mounted on the FREEdge, or let us know any advice or ideas you might have; we would like to hear everything! Feel free to leave us an email at email@example.com or check out our Facebook page.