Cleaning cigarette butts from beaches has recently been a challenge that environment advocates and government officials are facing, but the newly-invented BeachBot has a way to do it.
A Business Insider report said that to come up with the solution to eliminate cigarette butts from beaches, entrepreneurs Edwin Bos and Martijn Lukaart have assembled a beach-cleaning machine in BeachBot, with an appearance similar to a Mars rover that uses artificial intelligence to search and pick up cigarette butts people have thrown onto the beach.
Also called BB, BeachBot is capable to look even for those partly buried in the sand. The model machine was able to complete its initial demonstration last September and is set for another demo this summer.
The concept started when Bos, together with his two kids was visiting Schenevingen Beach located 4.5 kilometers from the Dutch coast. There, his son found a cigarette butt while he was digging into the sand.
Addressing Social Problems Using Technology
The entrepreneur thought about how visitors at the beach need to be more watchful about keeping the site clean. He also thought of how to solve the problem.
This led to Bos and Lukaart, both co-founders of TechTics, the consultancy working to address social problems with technology.
As specified in the Business Insider report, they decided that the machine will search and pick up cigarette butts first because they are considered the most littered product in the world. Soon, they are planning to add more litter products other than cigarette butts for BeachBot to detect and pick up.
BeachBot's Futuristic Design
According to a SlashGear report, with BeachBot's futuristic design, it is easy to mistake the machine for any mechanism other than a beach-cleaning machine.
The same report specified, not to mistake BB with the Beachbot of Disney, it measures 2.5-feet wide, with puffy tires that do not leave irritating marks of tires on the sand.
Furthermore, the machine is built with a pair of arms that grasp to pick up such toxic cigarette butts on the beachfront.
This litter product may appear harmless to some, but it contains chemicals and microplastics that are hazardous to fish, as well as other sea creatures.
How BB Works
In its report, SlashGear describes BB as an automated beach cleaner with an AI brain. Like today's vehicles, BeachBot uses AI and image-detection algorithms to detect a cigarette butt from other beach products including towels, flip-flops, and larger pieces of trash.
Indeed, this machine only detects and picks up cigarette butts, although only for now. Currently, the brain of BB is learning to detect cigarette butts regardless of their shape, size, and form, through the use of an app called Microsoft Trove.
This app is connecting developers of AI with images that contributors are sending to feed the system with photos of cigarette butts buried or stuck in the sand.
On its website, Project BB presents a range of robots jointly searching for litter. Specifically, the site indicates, BB and MAPP are built for outdoor tasks like in parks or on beaches. They are both programmed with AI to effectively map and pick up litter.
Information about BeachBot is shown on ProjectBB's YouTube video below: