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Business & Technology

Meet: Oscar, A Garbage-Sorting Robot Now Working At Simon Fraser University

SFU Intuitive AI Oscar

Photo: Simon Fraser University

Do you ever find yourself face-to-face with a multi-stream waste-disposal station, garbage in-hand, frozen and unsure of what to do?

“Are napkins Garbage or Organic?”

“Where do coffee cups go?”

“Are wooden chopsticks compostable?”

Well, help is on the way. In particular: Oscar, SFU Surrey Campus’ new artificial intelligence, waste-sorting robot.

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Birthed by Intuitive AI, a startup founded by two SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering students, Oscar uses a powerful A.I.-powered camera to identify the waste you show it, and then shows you the correct bin to throw it in on a display screen.

SFU Intuitive AI Oscar
Photo: Simon Fraser University

Intuitive AI began with “a vision to create a zero waste world.” Since then, they’ve seen their waste-sorting robots make their way to large metropolitan cities like Toronto, San Francisco, Calgary, and, of course, Vancouver.

The start-up’s first Vancouver partnership was with Vancouver International Airport, earlier this year. With this new SFU partnership, Co-Founder Hassan Murad tells Forbes that “I studied mechatronics at the Surrey campus, so it feels like we’re back home.”

SFU, which has a well-recognized and successful Zero Waste Initiative, expects Oscar to reduce waste contamination (e.g., garbage thrown in with recycling) at the Surrey Campus from 60% to 20%.

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The university is also a member of the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), which is a group of 100-or-so post-secondary institutions that exchange sustainability practices, information, and ideas with one another.

“This really is about building awareness and educating users on waste and the waste management problem”, says SFU’s Campus Sustainability Manager Kayla Blok.

Ideally, we will all one day be able to identify the correct bin for any given piece of waste, but in the meantime: Thanks, Oscar.

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