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One month ago, US-based robotics company CleanRobotics was named a semifinalist in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition for its flagship product TrashBot. TrashBot is a smart trash can that uses AI to sort and separate trash from recyclables. When items are entered one at a time, a camera and sensors classify each item and sort them into the correct internal bin. The process takes three to five seconds per item. The company says its technology separates recyclable vs. landfill items with 90% accuracy, against 30% accuracy that is typical of conventional methods.

As we wait for smart trash cans to come to our co-working space, here are two takeaways:

According to a 2019 survey, 62% of Americans worry that a lack of knowledge is causing them to recycle incorrectly. Who among us hasn’t stood helplessly in front of four different bins, trying to figure out where the plastic utensils can go? As GREEN PRESSURE mounts and rising numbers of consumers search for more sustainable forms of consumption, they’ll embrace tools and services that make eco-behaviors easier and more accessible. TrashBot uses AI to take the uncertainty out of recycling, and makes it more efficient: no more confusing signs means higher rates of proper trash sorting. Ask yourself: what can you do to make green actions more accessible for consumers? 

The lives of many consumers are already touched by intelligent, automated infrastructure. Rising numbers now expect that brands use machine learning and artificial intelligence to bring truly smart products and services to their pockets, workplaces – and their homes. Last month, Samsung-owned Whisk launched Food AI, a smart food app that uses AI to suggest recipes based on the contents of a user’s fridge. Indeed, housework task is too mundane for AI: in October, Shine Bathroom raised funds to release a device that converts an existing toilet into a smart toilet able to clean itself. Okay, you’re probably not about to make a smart toilet! But the underlying challenge is clear: how can you leverage AI and smart digital services that make the daily lives of consumers easier and faster?

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