Dubai students build smart garbage bin to sort out waste

AI-driven solution uses social robotics to improve waste management


Nandini Sircar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 21 Sep 2023, 4:17 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Oct 2023, 2:41 PM

A group of students from a university in Dubai has developed an intelligent waste sorting bin capable of swiftly and accurately categorising household waste, eliminating the need for human intervention to determine the appropriate bin for disposal.

Known as the Social Robot Garbage Classifier, the prototype of the smart bin combines artificial intelligence, mechatronics, and social robotics to develop an innovative solution to sort household waste both swiftly and accurately.

It’s the culmination of the efforts of a group of students from different Canadian University Dubai (CUD) departments, where engineering and technology have played a vital role in addressing real-world challenges.

Explaining the inspiration and the technology behind the solution, Computer Network Engineering major, Jehad Al Jaghoub said, “Often people will not sort recyclable materials, or will accidentally place items in the wrong bin. Our goal is to improve the outcome of recyclable garbage sorting, and ultimately, to see these smart bins installed across Dubai.”

The mechatronics system uses mechanisms such as sensors, which allow the robot to interact with users and understand their waste disposal needs.

Precision-engineered actuators then translate this input into actions, ensuring that trash is correctly sorted and discarded.

“When you get close to the garbage bin it will detect the individual and the thing in his/her hand that the person wishes to trash. It will turn on the camera to take a frame, not a picture to help protect the privacy of the person. The camera on the bin will help identify the kind of garbage one wants to throw away. It will then offer the bin of the right category by opening upwards, for the person to trash into the right garbage bin,” adds Jaghoub.

Advanced detection system minimizes errors, ensuring precise waste disposal

The camera-based waste detection system uses advanced image recognition algorithms to identify items swiftly and accurately, enabling bottles, cans, and other recyclables to be identified with remarkable precision.

Fellow developer Public Health major, Abdullahi Suleiman, said, “Mechatronics is a system that consists of sensors, which aresensors, allowing embedded together. So, when the camera triggers something, it sends an input signal to the server and then gives the output signal to activate the shoot.”

“This advanced system minimizes errors, guaranteeing that waste is accurately sorted and disposed of, making a significant contribution to sustainable waste management,” he added.

Therefore, the smart bin aims to bridge the gap between humans and technology, making waste management a more engaging and accessible task, where users can interact with the device and provide input on the type of rubbish they discard.

CUD Assistant Professor, Dr Salih Rashid Majeed, said, “This smart bin is a remarkable innovation at the intersection of social robotics and mechatronics system design and represents the university’s strategy to harness the power of artificial intelligence to deliver sustainable practices. The social aspect of the robot creates an intuitive and user-friendly waste disposal experience that has the potential to reshape waste management as we know it.”


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