Each year, 4,5 trillion cigarette butts end up in the environment. One of the places most devastated by the annoying (and smelly) refusal is the beach: there hordes of smokers often cover up the “butt”, but not the problem.
Edwin Bos e Martijn Lukaart, two co-founding researchers of TechTics, they created BeachBot. It is a concept that explores the possibility of interaction between humans and robots for a world without waste. Paired with the street cleaner robot already in service in Helsinki, or the boat cleaner robot instead navigate the Danish rivers.
Cigarette butts have found their Terminator
BeachBot, or "BB" for friends who don't know who Brigitte Bardot is, can spot cigarette butts, tear them out of the sand, and throw them in a safe bin. And it's a project that winks at collective intelligence and machine learning, too. Anyone can connect to BB and make it smarter by training its image detection algorithm - just send cigarette butts photos.
The system will become better and better at recognizing cigarette butts: crushed, semi-sanded, buried: it will be relentless.
To help amass those photos, the BB team turned to Microsoft Trove, an app designed to connect AI developers to photographers. Thanks to the team's efforts, Scheveningen beach in the Netherlands (where BB completed his first test mission) now has a coast that is cleaner from cigarette butts.
Here is a video of the cute beach sweeper cleaning the shoreline of cigarette butts: