Five U of T masters students have invented a new way for people to sort their waste.
RoboBin, a waste management system, helps people determine how to organize their waste. RoboBin uses photos that have been uploaded into its system to help identify what goes in the garbage, recycling, and organic bin.
“One in three citizens contaminate their recycling waste […] Even if you make an educated guess, we go wrong all the time,” said Nikunj Viramgama, CEO of Paramount AI, the organization that invented RoboBin, during an interview with CBC News.
Viramgama and his team consisting of Ganesh Vedula, Aakash Iyer, Vaibhav Gupta, and Maharshi Trivedi created the start-up organization Paramount AI.
This May, in Amsterdam, Paramount AI took their talents to the international stage when they entered their AI product in the KPMG’s second annual Ideation Challenge, an international competition held to discover solutions to the world’s biggest business challenges.
After advancing to the final stage of the challenge along with nine other teams from renowned universities all around the world, the team of five were named winners of the KPMG Ideation Challenge.
Viramgama and his team already have plans of what’s next for their invention.
“We at Paramount AI wish to launch RoboBin with a business to business (B2B) model, primarily serving the private sector clientele at the initial launch stage,” said Viramgama.
Paramount AI plans to first launch RoboBin on a local scale to gain consumer feedback, user experience data, and examine the feasibility and scalability of the AI product. After the initial launch and upgrades to the current model, Paramount AI hopes to go into the private sector.
“After the launch, we wish to venture into the private sector starting with theme parks, restaurants, and airports. Slowly expanding in the business space,” said Viramgama.
“Down the line, we wish to include government bodies and municipalities as our clients for bringing RoboBin into the metropolitan environment.”
Chelsea Dalton, the Environmental and Sustainability coordinator at the Facilities Management and Planning department, believes that the invention could completely change the recycling system.
“I think it is a very interesting invention that has the power to really revolutionize the way that waste is sorted,” said Dalton.
Dalton states the biggest problem with current waste management systems is contamination, a problem that RoboBin works to combat.
“Our biggest hurdle when dealing with waste and recycling is contamination—items that are not recyclable end up in the recycle bin, which can lead to the whole load being sent to landfill,” continued Dalton.
“If this invention can eliminate the issue of people placing the wrong items in the recycling stream, then it could really revolutionize recycling and make a huge impact in terms of decreasing the amount of material that ends up in landfill.”
As for UTM implementing this invention in the coming future, Dalton says the university has no plans right now, but she is looking forward to the possibility of working with the invention.
“[We have no concrete plans] at this time, but I think it’s a very cool invention and I would love to pilot it and see how it works out on campus.”
Paramount AI have yet to be in contact with the City of Toronto about RoboBin because they believe that the process of implementing RoboBin requires time and involves several steps.
“Coming out from a university project, the priority of the team is to receive a strategic partnership and guidance in reserving the knowledge rights and developing, researching, and piloting the prototype before commercializing it,” said Viramgama.