I am thinking about a project at my university for doing on-site waste sorting. The problem with having one waste bin for recyclables, compost and landfill and doing the sorting at a facility, is that the organic materials can destroy paper and other recyclable materials.
I have searched quite a bit but all of the robotic solutions available that I have found are for facilities. I am looking for a robotic bin to be deployed in replacement of the traditional waste and recycling bin.
The budget is approximately $1000.
- $1000 -- is that materials cost only, or does it include assembly and maintenance costs?: materials and assembly not maintenance for all 4 bins plus robotic sorter
- it must be bin-sized (whatever that means): let's say 3 ft (height) x 2 ft (length) x 2 ft (width) per bin and there are 4 bins -- recycle paper, recycle plastic, compost, landfill
- Do you have weight requirements so the consumer can move the bin to the curb, or are you planning to have the robot separate the materials into other, mobile, bins?: There are no weight requirements. We should be able to use a forklift to move it. What would be nice is to have a single waste entry hole which customers use. The device should internally sort the waste into the 4 bins listed above. The entry hole and sorter should be 1 ft (height) x 8 ft (length) x 2 ft (width) to fit directly on top of the set of 4 adjacent bins.
- What power is available?: It can be plugged into a wall outlet (in case there is one nearby) but should also be able to use a rechargeable battery (in case there isn't).
- What about environmental concerns, especially if this is to be located outside? Don't forget noise constraints and safety concerns.: The whole point of this is to reduce waste and help the environment. Assume the noise it can make can be as loud as a heater, AC unit, or fan. The entire system should be one box with one waste entry hole -- the rest should be blackbox-ed, so it should be safe.
- And, most importantly, what characteristics of the materials are you planning to use for doing the actual sorting?: the shorter should be able to detect pure recyclable plastic vs recyclable paper vs organic/food material vs pure waste using either computer vision or chemical techniques or both.
- What size requirements are there for the products themselves?: The waste whole should be .75 ft x .75 ft so assume the waste is less than .75 ft^3
- For example, how to detect organic garbage from non-organic (and do it many times a day without human intervention to "resupply chemicals") can be a topic of research that could take a couple of years itself: Yes this is a good point. However, my question is more focused on whether it's possible to use the robots already commercially available today to solve this problem.
I read through how to ask but so here is my specific question: Is there a commercially available robot today that does or can be retro-fitted to do this on-site waste sorting?