This Trash Can is a Robot
A Japanese inventor has come up with a way to cut down on litter from those with poor aim. The solution is a trash can that wheels itself around in order to catch any item thrown within its vicinity. The system requires a wall mounted camera which watches for objects that appear in the air. Once the camera catches sight of an airborne object, it sends a signal to the can to get ready to receive it. A computer system calculates where the item will land and position the can to move under the landing spot.
A large amount of software went into the retrieval system. The trash can itself contains a complex system for movement. Electric motors propel the three wheeled can around on the floor. A smooth floor is needed for the can to operate. Overcoming the resistance the wheels would need to operate on a rug would require too much power to put in a battery operated can such as this.
There are no plans at the moment to market this system. The design is simply an experimental project at this point. The system however has proven itself to be effective catching a wide variety of objects thr0own within its vicinity. While there certainly is worth in having a can catch items people with poor aim fail to get into a can, there also is a certain amount of satisfaction that one gets from having a well aimed can or wadded up ball of paper successfully make it into the can via a well aimed shot from across the room.
Certainly everyone has attempted this sort of toss. Indeed, contests of this sort have long been a hallmark of office workers when they get bored, much to the consternation of office managers.
Robot Cleaners Long Sought After
People have been fantasizing about robot maids for a considerable period of time. Back in the 60’s, the futuristic cartoon show, “The Jetsons,” featured a robot maid that did the household chores. There are examples of robotic devices for cleaning such as self propelled vacuum cleaners and floor sweepers, but it turns out that house cleaning is a surprisingly complicated task. The sheer mass of software needed to mimic the task makes true robot maids impractical for the time being.
Consider how complex a task it is to clean up after a party. What should you program a robot to do with the left over food? It would be a simple matter to assign a robot to just throw everything in the trash, but that could waste an awful lot of perfectly good items that a human maid would realize should be put into storage containers for later use. The human maid would know to put the onion dip back into the fridge, and the unfinished bags of potato chips and pretzels back into the pantry. On the other hand, the chips and pretzels already on plates should just go into the trash, and if the clean up does not take place until the following day, it might be best to throw all that dip with sour cream in it away.