A software interface allows humans to swipe with a finger on one hand to identify trash and classify it with the other hand.
Sorting waste isn’t fun. Trash can be sticky, stinky, and sharp. The entrepreneurs at Jodone want to turn this mundane task into a human-robot collaborative game to improve efficiency and accuracy.
For Jodone’s new pilot project at the Pope/Douglas waste-to-energy facility in Alexandria, Minnesota, human operators will use its software to monitor waste as it travels along a conveyor belt. Using a touch screen, workers will swipe any recyclables they spot and then select the appropriate category: paper, plastic, tin, etc. Those instructions will be sent wirelessly to robotic arms that will grab the recyclables and drop them in the correct bin. Workers who salvage above-average amounts of recycling will receive additional income.
“People like solving puzzles, they like being mentally challenged,” says Cole Parker, cofounder and CEO of Jodone. By presenting the job as a puzzle and offering bonuses, Parker believes, he can make the job more interesting for workers, which should, in turn, make the operation profitable.