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Robots That Can Sort Recycling


RoCycle can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a robotic recycling system that can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic.

Credit: Jason Dorfman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a robotic system that can detect if an object is paper, metal, or plastic.

The RoCycle system includes a soft Teflon hand that uses tactile sensors on its fingertips to detect an object's size and stiffness.

RoCycle, which is compatible with any robotic arm, was found to be 85% accurate at detecting materials when stationary, and 63% accurate on a simulated conveyor belt.

The researchers found that RoCycle can reliably distinguish between two visually similar Starbucks cups—one made of paper and one made of plastic—that would give other vision systems difficulty.

The system's gripper uses a "strain sensor" to estimate an object's size, and then uses its two pressure sensors to measure the force needed to grasp an object. These metrics are what gives the gripper a sense of the material from which the object is made.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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