Washington: Finnish technology company ZenRobotics has created a recycling robot that could help address the escalating global waste problem. The ZenRobotics Recycler (ZRR) is an intelligent robot which separates construction materials on a conveyer belt, plucking out recyclable materials and depositing them in bins for collection.

The robot is designed to replace manual sorting, which can be dangerous and frequently prohibitively expensive. Worldwide, the construction and demolition sector is thought to contribute over one third of all waste.

The US alone contributes a staggering 325 million tons of waste every year, and the UK produces another 120 million tons.

While household and municipal waste has fallen in recent years across the developed world, Waste Watch, a not-for-profit sustainability organization based in the UK, suggests that over 80 percent of all human waste that potentially could be recycled currently goes into landfill.

ZenRobotics founder Jufo Peltomaa notes that the problem is equally severe across the EU. Peltomaa and his team at ZenRobotics constructed the ZRR to help deal with this problem. The ZRR identifies different types of waste using a process called "sensor fusion."

By analysing the data, the sensors sort through objects on a conveyor belt and distribute them into surrounding chutes.

The sensor fusion system uses a range of technologies including weight measurement, 3-D scanning, tactile assessment and spectrometer analysis, which measures how much light reflects from various different materials.

ZenRobotics believes its creation will help ease the burden of the repetitive and dangerous job of waste filtration, which is currently done manually.

Peltomaa says that the idea for a recycling robot came to him when he had stayed up late watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel, in which a B52 bomber was crushed and recycled. The waste was placed onto a conveyor belt attended to by "bored-looking" employees picking through the rubble.

(Agencies)

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