Apr 15, 2019 10:15 AM EDT
Cutting down on waste produced may be a difficult endeavor to achieve, but converting waste into usable material is achievable. Unfortunately, sorting out the reusable materials from those that really need to be thrown out may be easier said than done. It is a labor-intensive process that the industry had to be built around it.
China, used to be the world's largest importer and recycler of paper, plastic and scrap metals. They imported more than half of the trash the world produces from countries such as Australia and turns them into something useful. However, in 2018, they implemented a ban on waste imports. Now nations are searching for a solution to deal with the trash crisis.
In an attempt to help solve this problem, scientists and researchers from MIT have tried to develop what they called a recycling bot to help sort out the trash.
The aim of the robot design is to lessen the use of human sorters to help improve recycling operations. This is done by the program in the bot that requires it to sort the materials in the trash based on its stiffness and conductivity. These actuators are also known as handed shearing auxetics. This is the type of actuator that expands and stretches to make more room for trash.
When two sets of these that are arranged to oppose each other, it will become easier to create the grip required to sort through trash with the strength of rigid yet conventional grippers. The bots are designed to come with its own pressure sensors to check on the squishiness of the material alongside the capacitive sensor that helps determine their conductivity. With all these in the bot, people can now expect it to be able to sort materials into bins for plastic, papers, and metals.
The research paper produced from the study carefully outlines the development of the gripper. It provides details of how it has come to its present form. Scientists from the MIT has carefully put efforts in designing and making of the bot that will help save man from drowning in its own trash. They had to make sure that it was robust enough to withstand the conditions in the recycling plants. The scientists also had to make sure that the bot is able to actually make the segregation that is expected of it.
At this stage, the design of the bot may still take more time before its concept is made available to the market. However, it remains to be a promising project to deal with a difficult problem that world is facing -- trash.
MIT remains to be one of the best sources of useful and interesting projects. They have developed a lot of things from the visual microphone to the camouflage for an image recognition system. What is even more interesting is that their designs are now targeting the world's biggest problem to hopefully find a solution for it.
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