Recycling robot sorts six types of plastic
Osaka University and Mitsubishi Electric Engineering Co. have designed a robot with laser-sensing technology that can distinguish six different types of plastic from all other garbage. The 5' 6" x 6' 9" machine identifies the plastic materials by analyzing the reflectivity of five different wavelengths of lasers on the garbage. Once it identifies the material, it sorts the garbage into different piles.
The purpose of the robot is to streamline the recycling process and increase the amount of plastic that gets recycled. Often confusion about what types of plastic are recyclable versus non-recyclable results in lower recycling rates in Japan, where people have to sort all of their plastics. With this robot taking care of that sorting, people could more confidently recycle.
Only one prototype robot currently exists and is undergoing testing in Japan. Smaller versions of the robot are expected to go into production soon and will sell for around $55,000. With that steep price tag, the robot would probably be better suited for commercial and industrial purposes. I can't see many people paying that much to have one at home.
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