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Social trash box robot asks humans to dispose of rubbish

Engineers from the Interaction and Communications Design Laboratory at Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology have created a new robot, designed to help tackle a growing litter problem worldwide.

The new rebotos are known as ‘social trash box robots (STB’s). These little bins are equipped with a processor, a video camera, speaker, alongside an infrared ray sensor, pyroelectric infrared sensor and a distance sensor.

They work by locating public areas where people are active by detecting their body heat with the pyroelectric sensor. After they move into the area by using their distance sensor they then use the camera which is tied in with an object recognition system. It then can identify trash.

Then the trash is located it will use the speaker and movements to alert nearby people. These people are then asked to help clear up the mess by dropping the rubbish into its ‘body’. There are infrared sensors at the top of the bin which let it know that it has indeed been filled up.

The robot can tip its body forward and backward or even to twist it to either side. The movements of the STB is controlled by three servo motors in the top part. Two other motors power the wheels underneath the chassis.

The STB’s have yet to be located in many locations, but an initial test procedure was successful – working with children.

Thanks to Gizmag for the info. More available here.

Kitguru says: A great idea, but the biggest flaw with this system is the fact that people are likely not to want to help clear up other people’s rubbish and the STB’s may be targeted by more unsavoury people and gangs in specific locations.

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