Finland develops robot that identifies and separates recyclable materials

14:29, May 20, 2011      

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ZenRobotics, a Finnish high-tech company has developed a robot that is able to identify and sort recyclable materials, such as metals, concrete, wood and certain types of plastics, local media reported Thursday.

The robot uses a combination of data collected by visual sensors, metal detectors, weight measurements and tactile feedback from a robotic arm to pick out pieces of recyclable materials from a mound of debris of waste materials and sort them.

The waste materials are loaded on a conveyor belt. As material goes by, the robot picks it up and analyses it. If the robot identifies the type, it will put them in an appropriate bin. If the material is not recognized by the robot, it stays on the belt and ends up being discarded.

The sorting system of the robot has been assembled with off-the- shelf industrial robotics components. The mechanism of the robot is simple enough to add new measuring devices, which will further improve its ability in identifying and sorting recyclable materials.

According to ZenRobotic Company, the robot has been tested by recycling and waste management company SITA since February of this year. A test conducted on a construction site showed that the robot had correctly identified half of the recyclable materials it was fed on the construction site.

Source: Xinhua
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