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By Linda Stewart

Meet Oscar, the trash can that can sort out your rubbish without you lifting a finger. Say goodbye to sorting through refuse forever.

We’ve seen some amazing contraptions that can clean the oceans after we’ve thrown our rubbish away, but what if there was a way to make recycling easier, preventing plastics and other materials from ending up in the sea in the first place? Now there is, in the form of Oscar, the first trash can with artificial intelligence.

A rubbish bin may not be your first port of call when it comes to all things AI, but it’s actually a surprisingly good choice. Oscar is created by a company called Autonomous, who’re better known for making ergonomic office equipment. The smart bin represents the brand’s first foray into the world of AI, and a camera capable of recognising different objects is at the heart of things. Drop an item of rubbish into Oscar, and the camera, with some help from a machine learning algorithm, helps to determine whether or not it’s recyclable. If Oscar doesn’t know what the item actually is, you can teach it. And the information you enter is stored on a cloud-based server, to be shared with other Oscar trash cans around the world.

Always connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, if one Oscar gets smarter so does every other. Once Oscar knows what you’ve thrown away, it’s capable of sorting between two seperate compartments – recyclable and non-recyclable. The stuff that can be reused is rolled to one side and the items for landfill to the other, saving you the hassle. Recycling and distinguishing between the two different types of rubbish may seem like a simple task, but according to Autonomous it’s something that humans are failing miserably at. “At the moment, roughly one in every four items we put into our recycling bins isn’t actually recyclable so it contaminates what can be recycled, and we send off the whole lot to the landfill,” they claim.

In-keeping with Oscar’s eco-friendly ethos, the smart trash can also embodies environmentally friendly materials, including compostable bin liners and trash compartments that feature a replaceable, biodegradable cardboard shell. There’s even a motion sensor on top of Oscar to open the compartment for trash – keeping smells and mess to a minimum. Where can you get this magical trash can, we hear you cry? Sadly you can’t, or at least not just yet. Following a campaign on Kickstarter last month, Oscar was initially set for deliveries in October 2018, but instead of launching the smarter than average refuge collector, Autonomous have decided to make a few more tweaks first. The company explains, “In the first few weeks of unveiling our little Oscar, we’ve had some extremely interesting ideas proposed to us that the team would like to pursue for Oscar v.2 – a more powerful, multi-purpose companion which we feel will serve you better. We’re canceling the present campaign and getting to work immediately. This is not goodbye, just see you soon.” Sounds good to us. We’ll look forward to seeing what Autonomous comes up with next. All we need now is a smart rubbish bin that can actually empty itself as well.

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