Robotics and the mountain of things we throw away
“Cities are like badger holes, ringed with trash – surrounded by piles of wrecked and rusting automobiles, and almost smothered in rubbish. Everything we use comes in boxes, cartons, bins, the so-called packaging we love so much. The mountain of things we throw away are much greater than the things we use.” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley.
Zen Robotics, a Finnish company which makes recycling systems that use robots, just raised $17 million from Invus/Evergreen and Lifeline Ventures. Additionally, Zen sold a recycling system to the Baetsen Group (The Netherlands) and it will be operational in Q1 of 2013.
In other trashy news: Grand Rapids, Michigan became the most recent user of a robotic waste bin pickup system. Their system enables the city to price their pickup service based on the quantity of garbage collected. They use trash containers with embedded RFID computer chips and trucks with robotic arms and remote control to pick and empty the bin while validating, computing and recording the charge.