Kinectpowered trash can helps you never miss the basket

first_imgThrowing your crumpled up piece of paper across the office in the style of your favorite basketball player is a time-honored tradition, but one that is ruined instantly when the paper misses the rim and hits the floor. Instead of hanging a tiny backboard with a net over your trashcan, take a look at this Smart Trash Can that will move to catch the paper for you.As a group, the technology sphere has a nasty habit of applying “smart” to everything, since it clearly makes everything better. In order to convince someone that a trash can was smarter than all the other trash cans, it would have to do something pretty incredible. Minoru Kurata made sure that the word “smart” applied to his trash can, and it won him an Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival. The trash can itself looks perfectly plain when you see it on the floor, and it continues to sit there and do nothing until you try to throw something away. Once you’ve decided to sink that basket, the can comes to life and moves into the path of the trash to make sure it goes in.The bottom of the trash uses three different wheels that are built on a single axis. The three wheels turn together, and each has a small motor to drive the can to where it needs to go. The design keeps all the weight towards the bottom of the can to make sure it can move quickly without tipping the can over accidentally.From there, a Kinect was hacked to detect movement of small objects in the air, and uses the trajectory and relative position in the room to quickly send instructions to the trash can for retrieval. Currently, Kurata says that the success rate is less than 20% using the current sensor and software. He hopes to patent the technology and work on reducing the number of errors before he considers selling his concept.The only thing I can imagine that would make this any sweeter would be to have a Smart Trash Can mounted on top of a Roomba, and have it be a single unit that caught my paper as I threw it and cleaned the room afterwards. If we’re going to strap a bunch of extra things to a Roomba, though, we might as well go all out and build ourselves a Rosie the Robot.last_img read more