We've all done it: you toss a piece of trash at a nearby waste basket only to have it ricochet off the edge, forcing you to make that shameful walk to go pick it up and drop it in carefully. You only have your own hand-eye coordination skills to blame, but if you think about it, shouldn't collecting trash be the garbage can's job? That certainly seems to be the thought process that led one Japanese inventor to construct a smart trash can that tracks garbage tossed in its general direction and then moves across the floor to catch it.
The "Smart Trashbox" was created by a modder known as FRP, who custom designed and built almost every component. A concealed wheel base on the bottom gives it a full range of motion, while a Kinect sensor - the go-to device for modders these days - mounted in the room tracks moving objects. The sensor monitors any garbage flying across the room, calculates where it will land, and instantly transmits the data to the waste basket. The final result is the trash can appears to glide quickly over the floor as it chases after any wayward garbage.
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Right now, FRP is still working on improving the accuracy of the garbage-seeking device, but plans to patent it and possibly bring it to market for consumers. Hopefully this is just one step closer to the robotic garbage cans that sci-fi movies have been promising for years.
Be sure to check out the video below to see how Smart Trashbox was made and how well it catches flying beer cans and plush toys.