If some says technology hampers sustainable development, there are plenty of others to support the “go green” campaign with innovative green technology. We are today talking about a recycling ATM machine which collects your old mobile phone and pays an agreeable price then and there only. These old mobile phones if discarded results in toxic elements like lead and arsenic collected in landfills causing environmental and health problems. The machine called “ecoATM” finds users for three-fourths of the phone it gets and sends the remaining ones to recycling channels so as to utilize rare earth components and prevent toxic material from getting composed.
Californian company ecoATM along with National Science Foundation has developed a system that lets customers trade such devices for reimbursement or recycling. The machine is smart enough to judge what goods will be unwanted and should go for resale or recycling. The whole concept inspires people to make their contribution to the environment as these old devices can make up to the inventory of spare parts or can even be melted to gather the residual metals.
Company co-founder Mark Bowles said: “The basic technologies of machine vision, artificial intelligence, and robotics that we use have existed for many years, but none have been applied to the particular problem of consumer recycling.” He further added that in addition to just applying existing technology, we developed significant innovations for each of those basic elements to make the system commercially viable.
The machine uses Artificial Intelligence to distinguish the electronic products and determine a market value. Scanning more than 4000 mobile phones and judging their value is now efficiently possible. When a device is shown, the AI system conducts a visual inspection, identifies the model and provides one of the 23 possible connector cables to connect it to the network. The value is then determined on the company’s real time pre auction system where a huge number of buyers have already bid on the old device so that the machine can quickly set up a compensation price. Now, if the value is acceptable, the customer has the option to accept the cash or store credit for their trade or simple donate some or all parts of the credit to charities.
The company’s team has worked hard to deliver the machine with 97.5 percent accuracy for device recognition which eliminates the need for a human oversight and making the system enviable. Currently the team is working to eliminate the accuracy gap and the machine is expected to become smarter over time, as the transactions take place. The company’s database is created well with device models and if an identification mistake occurs, the system will learn from that mistake. “We are now able to tell the difference between cracked glasses on a phone, which is an inexpensive fix, versus a broken display or bleeding pixels, which is generally fatal for the device,” Mr. Bowles stated.
Now, when the human intervention has been limited, more than 300 kiosks will be rolled out in the US by the end of the year.