Electric Mole versus The Sludge
Turning smelly sludge into dry dirt. Source: Thermo-System
Untreated raw sewage not destined for waterways is usually dried. But the drying process takes time, the sludge is difficult to store and the potential for stream-polluting runoff is high. Thermo-System’s Electric Mole, more stripped down autonomous car than animal, does share a feature with the insectivore by being able to displace dirt. It turns and aerates sludge inside a greenhouse-like hall until it turns inert and is no longer smelly. At the end of the drying process, the contents are ready to be transported.
Sorting the recycling at twice the rate
Robots can now sort recycling at super fast speeds. Source: Vivianne Lemay
With China now accepting much less of the West’s recycled materials, several companies have stepped in to recuperate the materials more quickly. The MAX-AI is one of them, identifying and sorting items with the same accuracy as humans but twice as fast.
Yelling “Timber!” under water
Lumberjack of the sea. Source: Treehugger.com
Forestry companies looking to virgin forests for their trees can find many under water. When massive hydroelectric dams are created, huge areas of forest are often flooded. The Sawfish Underwater Harvester, a 7,000 lb, unmanned logging submarine, harvests submerged trees and brings them up to the surface, exploiting an unused resource and saving the all-important above-ground forests.
Invading the space of the invasive species
Vacuuming up an invasive species (RSE)
Lionfish, are an invasive species threatening marine life. The inventor of the Roomba has used that robot and vacuum technology to catch the fish that often invades precious coral reefs. The Guardian, a camera-equipped transparent tank controlled from the surface, allows the operator to identify the fish, get the tank’s paddles up close, zap the fish with electricity and vacuum it into the tank. Operators have been known to provide local cooks with the lionfish, who then serve it up as a local delicacy.
The disassembly line
iPhone in the process of being recycled. Source: apple.com
Apple has found a way to address some of our electronic waste. On Earth Day 2018, they came out with a system they’re calling Daisy. A successor to Liam, which was debuted in 2016, Daisy removes and sorts components and can take apart up to 200 iPhone devices per hour.
Gobbling up marine plastic. Source: RanMarine
The Waste Shark, inspired by the whale shark, which swims through water and eats its prey with minimum effort, does the same with plastics, micro-plastics, alien vegetation and floating debris. The remote-control harvester, with its 200-litre capacity, can collect waste, and data, for 16 hours a day.
These are just seven initiatives. Imagine what can be accomplished if more of the world’s robotics manufacturers took up sustainability initiatives. If you’re a robotics maker, will they inspire you to make products that will help solve some environmental problems?