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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Tech Tuesday – May 20, 2014

App Alert: Instacart

Online shopping is nothing new, nor is going grocery shopping online — especially for students. Sites like FreshDirect and Peapod have been delivering groceries to University City students for years. Their vibrant green trucks donned with fruits and veggies are easy to spot. But as convenient as it may be to get groceries delivered to your door within the week, mobile and web application Instacart can get your groceries to you in a matter of hours.

Instacart is a startup from California that serves the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Los Angeles with groceries delivered by the hour. Using Drexel’s zip code (19104), you can choose groceries from stores like Whole Foods Market, Fine Wine & Good Spirits, Super Fresh, BJ’s Wholesale, Green Aisle Grocery and ACME Markets. Whether you want to purchase locally-grown fruits or vegetables or need to replenish your bulk supply of Ramen in time for finals week, Instacart can help you out.

Of course, there are a few catches, but they may or may not be worth it depending on what you’re looking for: the best bargain prices or the most convenient experience. There is a surcharge for delivery of $7.99; however, that surcharge can be waived with a $99 per year subscription to Instacart Express on purchases over $35. If you order groceries more than 12 times a year, a subscription may be best. The other downside to Instacart is that you can’t use manufacturer coupons on your order and prices may be a bit higher than what you would pay in store. Visit Instacart’s FAQ for more information about pricing and subscriptions.

How does Instacart work? It’s simple — visit www.instacart.com, type in your zip code and begin selecting your groceries! Upon checkout, you can select the hour timeframe that you’d like your personal shopper to deliver your groceries.

To become a personal shopper for Instacart and make commission on every order you deliver, you must have a valid driver’s license, a good driving record, proof of auto insurance, a recent smartphone, are 21 years old and able to lift 25 pounds. You are able to deliver on a schedule that you create for the days and times that fit best for you. Learn more about Instacart’s job opportunities here.

Smart Student: Osman Cueto, “BREATHE: The Connected Inhaler”

Senior product design major Osman Cueto has developed what MedCity News calls “an asthma inhaler app designed from the patient’s point of view.” Cueto developed a “smart” inhaler and accompanying app to help those who suffer from asthma better manage and maintain their condition. The mobile app can track metrics for breathing quality. Additional functionality of the app includes notification of areas that could potentially trigger an asthma attack.

In addition to the application, Cueto gave the traditional inhaler a bit of a facelift by designing a product that is thinner, more compact and easier to carry. Perhaps the best feature of his redesign is the mouthpiece that is covered by a sleeve instead of a cap, which can easily be lost. Speaking of misplacing things, Osman built a “locator feature” into the app so that users never spend more than 60 seconds trying to remember where they last placed their inhaler. Being recently diagnosed with allergic asthma myself, I had a few questions for Osman about the logistics:

The Triangle: If you had to explain your project in layman’s terms, how would you describe it?

Osman Cueto: The inhaler itself is redesigned using criteria I found while talking to other people suffering from asthma. It has a slimmer, flat profile from the traditional “boot” shaped inhaler. The design of the inhaler includes a retractable mouthpiece so there is no need for a cap.

TT: Is it designed for anyone in particular?

OC: It is designed for the adult asthma sufferers. Through my research I found that there are not many asthma related projects that target adults, so with that information I tried to make something that can fit into the modern adult’s life.

TT: Is it available for use now? If not, when will it be?

OC: It is not currently available now, only time can tell where it will go in the future.

TT: Where do you see your project in the future? Is this going to be something that you continue to work on after graduation?

OC: I would love to see the BREATHE in the hands of people everywhere. Again, I am not sure how far this will go, but I would hope to see it fully developed one day.

TT: What or who inspired you to do this?

OC: I was diagnosed with asthma at a very young age. It was always something I had to deal with while growing up. While choosing my topic for my thesis project I decided to do it on something I can relate to and somehow make [it] easier for people suffering from asthma. I want to make a difference in the world any way I can.

To learn more about BREATHE: The Connected Inhaler, you can view a video demo online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhEdGH_5uy4.

Working World: EU Rules Google

As students, our online personality is of the utmost importance in a world that relies heavily on social networking sites to build relationships. Often times our online persona can have more bearing on whether or not we get an interview than our resume. Recently, the European Court of Justice ruled that citizens have a right to request that Google remove links from search results to articles or information that are no longer relevant to their person. While this ruling only applies in Europe and not in the United States, it means that articles such as this one, which covers a couple who crashed a wedding at Valley Forge Casino, can be removed upon request of the “crashers” because it is no longer “relevant.”
Many people argue, however, that this ruling is infringing upon the rights of others to know information about those around them. After reading more about this on sites like the BBC, NPR, Time, The Wall Street Journal or TechCrunch, I would love to hear your opinions about this policy and if you think it should be considered in the United States! Comment below or send me an email with your feedback at maria.marinelli@thetriangle.org.

Maria Elena Marinelli is a junior information technology major and the assistant web production manager for The Triangle.