Culture

Black Engineers Create Contactless Smart Lockers For Food Pick-Ups To Revolutionize The Industry

Black Engineers Create Contactless Smart Lockers For Food Pick-Ups To Revolutionize The Industry

This is genius!

A group of young Black engineers created contactless smart lockers as a way to offer safe, contact-free interaction for customers, restaurants, and third party delivery drivers.

Rea Huntley, the CEO and founder of Lavii, Inc., has always been interested in technology, curious about the makeup of her favorite gadgets. 

"Growing up I was always different. I recall taking apart my Playstation and putting it back together just to understand how it works,'' she said in a statement provided to Because Of Them We Can.

At 31, her innovative spirit hasn't waned. Huntley created the Lavii Lockers smart locker technology to offer restaurants a safe, efficient, contactless pickup option. She told BOTWC the idea came to her last summer while waiting in line for an order of food. After 20 minutes, she realized her food was already waiting on her at the register, i was then she decided there had to be a better way.

Huntley, an IT consultant, who has some of the highest certifications as Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert went on the hunt for other experts to turn her idea into reality. She partnered with Bowie State University graduates, Lavii COO software developer James Bagley, 34, and Lavii CTO computer scientist Marcus Gunn, 35, to make her vision come to life. Together, the three developed the Lavii Lockers, which launched this past August amidst the pandemic.   

The lockers are all customized for each restaurant. Once the restaurant receives an online order through Lavii, they can prepare the food and immediately place it in the temperature controlled pickup locker. Upon the customer’s arrival, they’ll use their specialized QR code to unlock the locker with their food and be on their way to enjoy. The idea is to take the hassle out of online order pickup while also providing more secure options for restaurants and customers. The team said they worked around the clock to make it work. 

"A lot of what we did for Lavii from a technical standpoint are things that like I've never done before. When I hit roadblocks, I stop everything I'm doing and just pray and ask God for help,'' Gunn said. ''When I go to sleep, the next day I will wake up with an incredible epiphany. I lie to you not! It's happened like 10 times, to the point where I can count on that process now."

Photo Courtesy of Lavii

Since its launch, Huntley and the team have piloted the program with local restaurants in their area. The pilot proved successful and increased sales and customer satisfaction at both Crab Boss and Shark Bar. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, Huntley says the invention couldn’t come at a better time.

Photo Courtesy of Lavii

“The community loves it!...[It’s] the perfect solution for third-party delivery drivers and consumers to retrieve made-to-order meals safely, secure, and easily for take-out and for restaurants to make fast food, fast!,” Huntley told BOTWC.

The goal is for Lavii Lockers to eventually expand to national markets and target chain restaurants like Chop’t, Chick-Fil-A, and Panera Bread. Huntley hopes that even outside the pandemic, restaurants understand the need for such efficient technology. The group has plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to expand Lavii in 2021.

For more information about Lavii Lockers, follow them on Instagram

Photo Courtesy of Lavii