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We have smart phones, smart cars and even smart glasses, so it would only be logical that the next big idea would be . . . . A smart trash can? At least that's what Minoru Kurata, an engineer at a Japanese auto company is hoping to bring to a store near you, soon.
But before you get your hopes up too high, the device is not smart enough to clean up your room, after you leave for school. What in can do however, is make you seem like basketball superstar. That's because every time a piece of trash is flung anywhere close by, it moves in that direction and ensures that it lands inside, and not around the periphery, as is usually the case.
To achieve this magical feat, a motion-sensing Kinect camera placed strategically around the area first detects the position of the trash. It then sends this information to a computer, which rapidly calculates the location and transmits it to the can via a wireless connection.
This activates the trash can, which is equipped with a motor controller and wheels all snugly fitted on the underside. In order to ensure that the can does not topple over as it tries to catch the badly aimed trash, Minoru designed it so that it has the lowest possible center of gravity - Which means that it is narrow, compact and sits low on the ground.
While getting a trash can that requires such an elaborate set-up may not be a priority on your list, Minoru who was awarded an Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival held in Tokyo from February 13-24th, says that he has received many inquires about licensing his product for commercial use.
However, the young engineer is holding out for two reasons - He first needs to secure a patent for the elaborate technology and more importantly, get the can's success rate of detecting the falling article a tad higher than the current 10-20%!
Resources: techland.time.com, digiinfo.tv