Canadian University Dubai (CUD) students have developed an innovative solution for sorting household waste. The system uses artificial intelligence, mechatronics, and so-called “social robotics” to swiftly and accurately sift through garbage. Known as the Social Robot Garbage Classifier, the project is a collaboration between students from the School of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, and the Department of Public Health.
The idea for the smart garbage bin was formulated initially by Computer Network Engineering major Jehad Al Jaghoub, who explained, “Often people will not sort recyclable materials, or will accidentally place items in the wrong bin. Our goal is to improve the outcome of recyclable garbage sorting and, ultimately, to see these smart bins installed across Dubai. The mechatronics system uses sensors, allowing the robot to interact with users and understand their waste disposal needs. Precision-engineered actuators then translate this input into actions, ensuring that trash is correctly sorted and discarded”.
Co-creator and Public Health major Abdullahi Suleiman added: “The camera-based waste detection system uses advanced image recognition algorithms to identify items swiftly and accurately, enabling bottles, cans, and other recyclables to be identified with remarkable precision. This advanced system minimizes errors, guaranteeing that waste is accurately sorted and disposed of, significantly contributing to sustainable waste management”.
The university students’ prototype waste management system will soon compete in two regional innovation competitions, including the Institute of Engineering and Technology GCC Robotics Challenge, which showcases solutions for socially interactive robotics.
The students are supported in taking their creation to competitions by CUD Assistant Professor Dr. Salih Rashid Majeed, who summed up the project by saying, “This smart garbage bin is a remarkable innovation at the intersection of social robotics and mechatronics system design and represents the university’s strategy to harness the power of artificial intelligence to deliver sustainable practices. The social aspect of the robot creates an intuitive and user-friendly waste disposal experience that has the potential to reshape waste management as we know it”.
Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 To Help Climate Technology Startups
The initiative was announced at the COP28 summit and will help selected startups with a $200,000 cash injection and further incentives.
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology system, has launched a new initiative to support climate technology startups backed by several of the UAE’s largest public and private sector organizations.
A total of 342 startups have submitted applications so far, with the top companies being added to a shortlist that will be revealed shortly. Selected startups will receive Dh250,000 ($68,000) in incentives and an upfront cash support package of Dh250,000. In addition, the top performers of Hub71’s new initiative will also receive a top-up of up to Dh250,000 in exchange for additional equity.
Ahmad Alwan, deputy chief executive of Hub71, said: “This initiative aims to bring in different entities that have a shared mission towards climate tech […] Throughout the journey, we will support these companies, not only from being startups to becoming mature companies but also to facilitate their engagement with entities that would support them with access to capital, market, and talent”.
The Hub71+ ClimateTech ecosystem is backed by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and the National Central Cooling Company, who have each pledged Dh500,000 to the initiative as anchor partners.
They are joined by corporate partners, including Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, Aldar Properties, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Masdar City, and Dubai’s Emirates NBD. In addition, Siemens Energy is also onboard as an anchor partner.
So far, Hub71 has helped 260 member startups and created over 1,000 jobs, according to the organization’s website. In addition, it has collectively raised around Dh5 billion since its foundation in 2019.