Recently, I walked out my front door to notice that a neighbor's trash was still sitting on the curb ? two days after pick-up. (Actually, I nearly tripped and landed on it. Yuck, right?) Apparently, they missed the truck, but didn't want to bring the garbage back into the house. So it was left there, waiting for some hungry dog (or clumsy neighbor girl) to break the bag, leaving remnants to blow around in the wind and litter the streets.
Someday, no doubt in some quasi-futuristic society, people won't have to worry about trash schedules or sorting recyclables. In fact, we?ll be able to use remote devices or cell phones to summon robots that will handle these less-than-glamorous tasks, á la the Jetsons? Rosie or some sort of Wall-E?like service bot.
It's inevitable ? that, I know. But what I didn't know was that 'someday? was upon us, and that the quasi-futuristic society would be the 8th century town of Peccioli. The town, located in the Tuscan countryside of Italy, is the testing site for new robotic technology called the DustCart.
The robot is part of a $3.9 million DustBot research program whose mission is to clean up the dirty business of urban hygiene.
DustCart robot can be called in with a mobile phone or go door-to-door, sorting trash into organic, recyclable, or waste products. Then it loads the garbage into its belly and transports it to a waste-management site.
The cute-as-a-button hardware design probably wasn't intended to put smiles on people's faces, but it certainly does the trick. And it's small and compact enough to make its way to areas that stymie normal garbage trucks.
Aside from collecting refuse material, the robot also measures air pollutants ? like sulfur oxide, benzene, ozone, and nitrogen oxide ? using on-board sensors. So it's both cute and brainy.
DustCart is still a prototype for now, since the current working model is slow and has trouble on crowded streets. Plus, in Peccioli, robots aren't legally allowed to wander about on their own without human guidance. (There's a town that actually has robot-leash laws? Wow, that's news to me.)
This is one of those I-can't-believe-no-one's-invented-this-yet technologies. And given its green cred, I sincerely hope it lierally hits the streets as soon as possible.
[Global Post via Inhabitat]