Project Avocado

Project Avocado

Project Avocado was inspired by the Fall 2015 Do Tank Food Waste Challenge. It is a  platform for students, to share their excess (and still consumable) food with other students, before it goes to waste. This not only helps to feed those who need food, but also helps to build a stronger student community; at the same time, it reduces food waste.

During the Fall 2016 term, the team will develop a new prototype test two things:

  • The feasibility of using NYU ID cards to electronically unlock a cupboard or a refrigerator to store the food and also display the date when the food was stored.
  • Explore the kind of foods which the students are willing to share or take.

The data obtained will be valuable as it will help understand the feasibility of the system, and give us insights of how we can bring down food waste across cafeterias and various events of NYU.

This will also help us answer the question we had asked ourselves while conceptualizing Project Avocado: How might we reduce food waste across NYU, while building a stronger community of students?”

Project Leader: Rodney Lobo

Project Co-leader: Emma Joan Hoffman

Team Members:  Michael Niamehr,Simon Chen, Tuba Naziruddin, Vandit Chandrakantbhai Maheshwari

Mentor(s): Hannah Berkin-Harper

Project Journey during the Fall 2016 term


In Fall 2016, the team applied for the NYU Fall Prototyping fund, and was one of 13 teams out of 56 to receive the fund. Throughout the semester, the team sought insights from organizations such as NICE and Sharemeals to build the prototype. The team also worked on the affordability issue by trying to help reduce food insecurity across NYU. The team was selected for the phase 2 of the prototyping fund to be continued in Spring 2016.


The team build a prototype called the NYU FREEdge, which is the World’s first smart community sharing fridge. The team worked on repainting the refrigerator and moving it to a new location in the MakerSpace Foyer. A Raspberry-pi based system was used to collect data through card swipes. A touch display was used to collect the information such as the types of food and allergens. From the observation of the team, there is a huge traffic of students trying to receive leftover food from various events across NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and the prototype is well received.

Photographs of the project work:

(From Top left to Bottom Right: (1) Working on the prototype, (2) The Team, (3) The Prototype, (4) NYU FREEdge Kickoff event)




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