Can crows be trained for cleaning using technology?

In this piece, they are attempting to train crows in the Netherlands to pick up cigarette filters from the streets in order to keep them clean. However, if successful, it could potentially be applied to any other material, like plastic bags and so on.

Sustainability Problem:

Cleanliness on streets and segregating it for re purposing. With growing cities and population sizes, its an issue being faced by almost every large city in the world today.

In the Netherlands alone, over 6 Billion cigarette filters are thrown around the country. Cigarette filters are made up majorly of fibers which clog sewage systems and do not easily decompose.

Technology:

Inspired by a TED talk which demonstrated how crows can be trained to connect coins in exchange for food, they decided to apply this principle to clean up cigarette filters. The founders of ‘Crowded Cities’ based in the Netherlands have designed a product called the Crowbar, which essentially delivers some food to a crow once it drops a cigarette filters which is verified by a computerised source with a camera.

crows-cigarette-butts-4.png

 

  1. First the crows pick it up and drop it in the funnel shaped container below.
  2. The item is recognised with a camera and if its a cigarette filter, the device spits out crow food.
  3. It is their hope that the crow shares his/her experience with others and feed themselves by word of mouth.

 

 

Stakeholders:

  • Founders of the company
  • Department of Sanitation, or its equivalent
  • City Government
  • Recycling centres
  • Cigarrete smokers
  • Crows

Implementation:

crows-cigarette-butts-2.jpg

  • Although they are yet to put out the product ‘Crowbar’ in the field, they are current testing out their design and optimising it.
  • Building partnerships with the city and recycling centres would be valuable once the device is placed on ground.

As I mentioned earlier, this is an innovative application that can be useful for a variety of items beyond cigarette filters. It is utilising the learning capabilities of crows within a simple reward system and suitable technology.

Sources:

https://newatlas.com/crows-cigarette-butts/51683/

http://www.crowdedcities.com/

 

 

Comment on another post: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/18/improving-resiliency-of-concrete-structures-with-recycled-tires/comment-page-1/#comment-1220

Denim Made out of Ocean Plastic

Bionic_Yarn_Pharrell_G_Star_Raw_For_The_Oceans_Denim_Recycle_Plastic_Sustainable_Principles_CFADC_Superego_Clothiers_3_grande

Problem: Plastics in the Oceans

Today, the Earth’s oceans are littered with millions of tons of plastic, wreaking havoc on animal and plant life in the water. This does not only affect the wildlife, but humans who rely on them for food and or business

Technology: “How a Pair of Jeans Could Save our Planet’s Plastic-Choked Oceans” by Issie Lapowsky

New York City-based startup, Bionic Yarn, has created a way to make fabric from recycled ocean plastic and turn it into denim products. The products are woven with some nine tons of ocean plastic inside. One of the company’s yarns is FLX, which is is made completely of recovered plastic. Their patented technology heats and spins together dozens of RPET strands to make new and improved yarn

Stakeholders:

Bionic Yarn tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Design Collaborators

Fashion designers

Clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, Bionic Yarn has partnered with celebrity/designer, Pharrell Williams, who uses it in his G-Star Raw collections

The company should start a campaign marketing the technology to high-end textile suppliers, proving that this material can be recycled and high quality

Sources:

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/bionic-yarns/

http://www.bionicyarn.com/

https://www.g-star.com/en_us