As the level of urbanization increases so does the amount of waste generated. Without enough garbage cans or enough EMPTY garbage cans the public is likely to throw trash on the floor or leave it around. The Canadian government yearly spends millions of dollars on routinely trash movement. Emptying garbage cans, moving them to landfills, and then extra on the trash left on the floor.
Solution to this? iCan. iCan is an IoT sensor suite capable of MONITORING the level of TRASH with a ToF sensor or an ultrasonic sensor along with a CAMERA to identify the different types of trash that comes in. Attached to the inside top of every public bin, an analytics platform can be used to monitor the fill level. The iCan would come with its own GPS as well as a 4G connection. This would allow the garbage collection business to keep track of each and every garbage can in the city. Through the analytics platform they would be able to keep track of the cans that have filled up. With this information they would be able to optimize the route and timings of each collection routine. The analytics platform would essentially allow the businesses to use less man power and therefore drastically save on costs.
With the CAMERA in the iCan, the collection agency can monitor the TYPE of trash that is usually thrown in the area. This would allow them request different types of garbage bins to be placed in the area e.g. glass, cardboard, paper etc. This would make the sorting process easier and more efficient as the time and money spent in sorting the trash in the landfill would decrease. This technology can be further exploited by using the DATA collected (the type of trash) and SELLING it to local shops/markets. For example, if there is an area that spends a lot of money on fast food (because of the youth) then this data can be used to target those youths and ADVERTISE different types of fast foods on billboards, Facebook ads, Instagram etc. This data can be further exploited by observing walking distance and drinking/eating patterns. For example, a coconut water drink, from the available database (stored on the iCan servers) if it can be identified what shop the drink came from we can approximate (as it is based on contingencies such as drink was from around the area, and the person walked directly from the shop with the drink to the garbage can) how long it took the person to drink and walk over from the shop. With this collection of this data we can average out and strategically place garbage cans around the area specific distance from each other, making sure a bin is always available.
There is still the problem of, what if the bin is full and iCan has signaled to be emptied. ICan solves this issue by placing a small screen at the top of every bin. If full, a red light would come on and it would display the next closest bin that the trash can be thrown. (for more restrictive purposes flaps can shut the bin close).
As an incentive for those who throw trash on the floor, an RFID point system can be utilized with a phone application, allowing the thrower to earn points in which after enough points they could win a prize!
It’s quite simple to manufacture such a device. A PCB layout that integrates all the required components can be made, RFID, camera connector, Ultrasonic connector, GPS, 4G board and screen connector. Mass producing this PCB layout and then simply attaching the smaller components with a pick and place machine and finally attaching camera and screen. An SD card holder on the PCB can be programmed with the right software and the cases for the PCB 3D printed or molded.
Using less than 1-2A of current, a big enough battery can be placed allowing it to run for many weeks!
The impact of such technology can be huge. Making cities cleaner, reducing diseases, reducing bacteria, reducing air pollution and improving health. A healthy city would bring in more visitors and essentially raise economy. Not only that but with the functionality that this device brings it will create more jobs. It will allow collection agencies to expand into the technological side. A clean city would improve the mood of its inhabitants and thus increase productivity. With the data collected, a better accurate advertisement system can be developed increasing the sales of local shops and markets as well as striking interest in the public.
The innovation is through getting information from trash and how that alone can change the environment around us. Although technology like these exist they are not taking the full advantage of the IoT. Some are only utilizing the ultrasound sensor. By utilizing the camera we can get much more out of just trash. By running this data through Machine learning algorithms we can generate patterns, discover eating disorders and much more!