Why do people not recycle even though the garbage cans always have clear labels? Because it takes time to read it. Every time I stop by a garbage can, I spend a long time deciding which type of garbage my bubble tea cup is. Is it waste or can it be recycled? We decided to solve this problem by allowing people to leave the garbage and just forget about it.

What it does

Our CanSorter sorts the types of waste using image recognition, which means that all you have to do is leave the garbage in the garbage can, and the garbage will go into the appropriate section automatically!

How we built it

We built this device by first training our own model using keras to recognize cans/bottles, or regular garbage. We detect when a garbage is inputted using the motion sensor, if a motion is detected, a signal is sent to the IBM Cloudant using mbed c++ code. After the IBM Cloudant receives the message, we use the a javascript script to open up our pc web cam to take a picture, analyze it with our keras model, and return a character based on whether or not it is a bottle. The cellular IoT Nucleo board then receives the signal and acts on it. Using relays to amplify our motor power, we were able to send the amplified signal to the motor to push the garbage to the appropriate section.

Challenges we ran into

One of the main challenges we ran in to is integrating the different parts of the device. We spent a lot of time deciding which interface to use, iOS, Android, etc. But we ended up using webcam because it is the simplest to use given our time constraint. Also, receiving the signal via serial from the cellular IoT device was also difficult as we had no prior experience using the device. Writing the code to send characters and receive and process them was also a difficult task that we could not have done without help as we were not extremely familiar with serial communication and using Cloudant.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to get the machine learning model up and running and it actually detects cans. We completed the circuit to push the can to the appropriate section and we learned a lot about using cloud services and IoT technology.

What's next for CanSorter

We plan to sort even more categories of garbage in the future as garbage comes in many types, not just two, and also implement the same sorting technology in other fields.

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