Although "recycling" is a concept that's been around for decades, people in Chihuahua are yet to fully embrace it, specially the youngest.
By using a reward system we are looking to promote a green, recycling culture that everyone can embrace. We're talking of a machine that its capable of distinguishing between different types of recycling materials. Any person that approaches the machine and correctly disposes of any recyclable product (Aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard, etc.) gets in exchange virtual currency. Since we're trying to teach about recycling to kids, we want the virtual currency to act as credits for arcade machines or any other form of entertainment.
Every strategy that aims for sustainable development must include within it's objectives the reduction of residues and when not applicable, getting the most out of them.
The objective of projects such as this is to promote the recycling culture, this by means of a reward system. A secondary objective is to utilize to the most of our abilities residue material that was intended for no use and that would end up on a city landfill.
Throughout the years, several green projects have failed, such as:
- Recycling centers
- Schedule recycling recollection
- Material classification (Organic, Inorganic)
The following table shows the growth of the RSM (Local solid residues) rates throughout the 90s.
There is one project in existence which at the time of this delivery is yet to be applied, but that includes similar concepts to ours:
- In Mexico city: by HengSheng Plastics Company. It rewards users with credits for recycling. It only recognizes plastic and aluminum.
Some of the possible upgrades to the existing project are:
- Auto-detection of the material to recycle.
- Easy to use for elders and kids
- Modular design.
The current version of our prototype is able to distinguish between metallic and non-metallic objects. By using a metal sensor our prototype is able to accept the object introduced and place it where our crushing station would go.
If the object is not metallic it is not accepted by the prototype and therefore needs to be removed. If the correct material is detected, a signal activates the servo-motor that hangs above the platforms which hold the can. By moving the motor, a set of cables enable the platform to tilt and let's the can go through into our machine. The signal is also registered in our program, which counts by default to 5 signals and enables a game to be played. The number of signals can be modified.
Our vision of the final product is a device of modular nature, with different modules for different types of recycling material. A large storage unit is present on the back-end of the device, capable of storing all material correctly accepted by the device until an operator is able to recollect them. Just as well, as part of the inner machinery, two crushing units are present, each of which are capable of receiving its designated material on an upright position and then proceed to crush them into smaller pieces for easier storage. The crushing process will take place regardless of the condition upon which the material is inserted into the system (Figure 1).
Our machine currently accepts two different types of recycling materials: Aluminum cans and plastic bottles. After correctly placing materials on the designated entry point (Figure 2), in the case of aluminum cans a metal sensor will detect whether the material is correct or not. If the sensor detects aluminum it will allow it to continue towards the crushing station which will crush the can and direct it to a storage unit located at the back of the device.
If the sensor does not detect the correct material the primary path will not open and the material will remain unable to access the storage unite. We envision as a future upgrade that the wrongfully inserted material will be redirected towards the user so that it's removed from the machine (Figure 3), we show this functionality on the modeled version of the device..
As for the plastic bottles, we are currently depending solely on a proximity sensor, however both paths are designed with the specific dimensions for each material (Can-sized and bottle-sized paths).
Upgrades intended for the future.
- Include a module for organic materials.
- Electronic transactions
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You can watch the video presentation in here.