Recycling is a dirty job, but in the future there's a good chance that something -- and not somebody -- will do it.
The recycling robot, an innovation from Finnish robotic research firm ZenRobotics, is a machine that thinks like a treehugger. The mission? To locate redeemable materials amongst construction waste and then transfer them to the appropriate bins, saving hours of labour costs that foremen typically aren't willing to shell out for.
The recycling robot consists of a motorized body connected to a Canadarm-like appendage, all of which links to a computer programmed to provide weight and texture analyses, 3D measurements, and spectrometer scans. The bot operates alongside a conveyor belt loaded with junk, and removes items it deems recyclable.
So far, the recycling robot's technology is only 50 percent accurate when it comes to identifying recyclables, but technicians at ZenRobotics say this figure will improve with the development of new measuring equipment.
The current incarnation of the recycling robot is capable of identifying different types of wood, plastic, metals and concrete, but its repertoire is likely to expand in the future as programmers introduce it to new materials.