Technology

BeachBot, a robot for cleaning beach buttocks

Nowadays, it is typical, at least in Spain, to escape to the beach. A few days of disconnection where we enjoy the coasts of our country or abroad. However, there is an evil plaguing the beaches, rude tourists leave countless garbage on the beach including over 4.5 billion cigarette butts every year. The BeachBot wants to clean up beaches around the world.

BeachBot, a solution that uses information from Microsoft Trove to clean up beaches

In the past, we told you about Trove, an application born from Microsoft Garage that pays us for our photos. Who would have thought that such a project could help BeachBot in its laudable task.

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

Each year, 4,500 billion cigarette butts end up in the environment, where fibrous fragments, which can take 14 years to disintegrate, have become “the most common form of personal object found on beaches”, according to a 2019 study conducted by Brazilian scientists. Along the coasts, they slowly poison sea turtles, birds, fish, snails and other creatures.

Cuando el agua toca las colillas de cigarrillos tiradas, los filtros vierten más de 30 productos químicos que son “muy tóxicos” para los organismos acuáticos y plantean “an important problema de residuos peligrosos”, según un estudio realizado en febrero por gobientíficier United States. Some of these chemicals are also linked to cancer, asthma, obesity, autism, and lower IQ in humans.

Beachbit, created by Edwin Bos and Martijn Lukaart, is a beach cleaning robot capable of detecting cigarette butts, pulling them out and throwing them into a secure container.

To teach the bot to find cigarette butts, TechTics must show the beach robot (and in particular the AI ​​system) thousands of photos of cigarette butts, all published in various states, as partially hidden, so that it can recognize them and remember them.

Trove, the perfect ally for these photos

To help rack up those photos, Bos and his team turned to Microsoft Trove. An app that connects AI developers to photographers through a seamless data marketplace. Trove establishes a direct exchange of photos for fair market value. In this case, people can submit their photos and TechTics pays contributors 25 cents per image accepted directly.

“The system learns to see images like a child recognizing an object for the first time,” says Christian Liensberger, senior program manager for Trove, a Microsoft Garage project.

TechTics tries to collect 2000 photos through Trove. So far you have obtained around 200 useful images. It would be much easier if Trove were available worldwide and Rewards points were used as a reward.

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