Admit it — you’re not entirely sure how to recycle. It’s understandable, really. With so many different materials in play, how are you supposed to know what needs to be thrown into a landfill and what can be reused? Humans might not be the best at the Three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle, of course), but another “R” is here to save us — a robot, affectionately named Clarke.
Developed by AMP Robotics, this robot makes use of artificial intelligence to recognize and sort food and beverage containers. Clarke has already been deployed in a municipal waste facility in Denver, Colorado, where it helps out with the trash-sorting system. Using a visible-light camera, it can spot milk, juice, and food cartons and pull them out using its robotic arm and suction cups. These items are then diverted away from the landfill, and sent instead to the appropriate recycling facility.
With a reliable rate of 60 items a minute, Clarke picks up recyclable waste with 90-percent accuracy and is about 50 percent faster than a human doing the same job. Ultimately, that results in a 50-percent reduction in sorting costs.