In Depth: Recycling Robots 2.0

In Depth: Recycling Robots 2.0

Once suitable for only niche applications, robots are now being developed that can sort household recyclables and differentiate between construction wastes. What will this mean for the human workers? Does it mean the start of robot revolution? How accurate is the technology?

The day before yesterday, 13:06, By Matt Clay
Bild © ZenRoboticsDisruptive technologies

The robotic developments from the Spanish and Finnish companies are bound to upset some people. Both developments, albeit for different scales and applications, are designed to replace humans. This means man could be well be replaced by machine. Yet, like other industries, the waste sector has to evolve. Its dangerous and unpredictable nature mean that robots may be better suited than people for certain tasks.

Disruptive technologies by their very nature can turn an industry upside down. Just look at what Apple’s smartphone did for mobiles. Such disruption is often needed for an industry to evolve and to inspire other manufacturers with older technologies to take note.

Sadako is still in a very early stage of development. Once proven beyond the Spanish borders, it could have real potential. With ZenRobotics’ robot sorting stations now being used in Europe and Asia, the Finnish company is making great strides.

Prof Stephen Hawking may be speaking some truth: AI may not spell the end of the human race, yet, but it certainly could replace humans in waste sorting, making it safer and more efficient. And that can’t be a bad thing.

Matt Clay is a freelance journalist

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