Friday, July 23, 2021

BeachBot Robot to clean beaches of cigarette butts

Beaches will be free of cigarette butts thanks to a robot.

beachbot
Image: projectbb

Nowadays, going to the beach is common. A few days of disconnecting along the coastlines of our country or elsewhere. However, there is an evil that haunts the beaches: bad mannered tourists litter the beach with innumerable items, including over 4500 billion cigarette butts each year. BeachBot's mission is to clean up beaches all over the world.

We previously told you about Trove, a Microsoft Garage program that compensated us for our images. Who'd have guessed that such a project could aid BeachBot in its noble mission?

BeachBot is a robot made by TechTics, a consulting firm based in The Hague, to collect up abandoned cigarette butts on the beach.

According to a 2019 study by Brazilian scientists, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts wind up in the environment each year, where the fibrous particles, which can take up to 14 years to degrade, have become "the most common form of personal item detected on beaches." They progressively poison marine turtles, birds, fish, snails, and other species along the beaches.

According to a February research by US government experts, when water comes into contact with discarded cigarette butts, the filters release more than 30 compounds that are "extremely harmful" to aquatic animals and cause "a serious hazardous waste problem." In humans, several of these compounds have been related to cancer, asthma, obesity, autism, and a lower IQ.

Beachbot is a beach-cleaning robot designed by Edwin Bos and Martijn Lukaart that can detect cigarette butts, pick them out, and dump them into a safe receptacle.

To educate the beach robot (and, specifically, the AI system) to discover cigarette butts, TechTics must show it hundreds of photographs of cigarette butts, all displayed in varied conditions, as partially hidden, so that it can recognize and remember them.

Bos and his team used Microsoft Trove to assist them collect those photos. An app that uses a transparent data marketplace to connect AI engineers with photographers. Trove facilitates a direct photo exchange for fair market value. People can submit their images in this scenario, and TechTics compensates contributors 25 cents per accepted image.

"Like a child learning to recognize an object for the first time," Christian Liensberger, senior program manager at Trove, a Microsoft Garage project, explains how the system learns to see photos.

Through Trove, TechTics is attempting to collect 2,000 photographs. It has gotten roughly 200 useful images thus far. If Trove was available worldwide and Rewards points were used as rewards, this would be much easier.

Curated By Gerluxe

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