How to make the garbage sorting an utterly compelling process? Essentially, this is tedious work with conveyor usage, but at the same time, it's total automation can increase overall productivity. By this, Yale University and MIT researchers invented a robot that has sensors for materials' identification. From now on, plastic, metal, or paper waste is sorted correctly by one touch of a robot.
Its name is RoCycle, and this robot has only two soft fingers, which he uses to take objects. While holding, he slightly compresses items and determines the size and elasticity. These two critical parameters bring unique characteristics to the robot's firmware telling the type and material of the thing in his hands. After that, he matches and selects options from those he has in the loaded base of objects. However, metal objects can also be distinguished by electrical conductivity. Moreover, when the material identification is made, the robot puts the piece to the proper bin, he has the three of them accordingly.
The robot performed impressive results during the tests; the accuracy of the stationary items sorting was 85% and 63% for things that RoCycle took from the moving conveyor. These indicators show the high potential of this invention and a big step to improvements. You can browse RoCycle in action in a small video on YouTube.
The creators of the RoCycle robot are planning to equip it with a machine vision, which allows not only to touch but to scan the look of items when sorting. The scientists expect that this feature will noticeably enhance the effectiveness of the robot's labour.
This digital garbage manager is not the one-of-a-kind, as there is an analogue in Japan. The engineers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Japan (AIST) created a humanoid robot HPR-5P. That machine is a builder, capable of independently performing various tasks related to the construction. For example, the usage of a screwdriver is not a problem for him.