Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Screw Roombas, the Japanese trashbot is where it's at!


Since the advent of electricity, man has dreamed of harnessing its raw and awesome power to create a better way to collect their garbage. Sure, there were other dreams that came along with the harnessing of electricity... but I'm almost positive that creating a sentient garbage can that could save its inventor a trip or two across the room was pretty high on Thomas Edison's to-do list.

Sadly, Edison never got around to making this dream a reality and for most of the 20th century man was forced to walk - or toss - his garbage to stationary wastebins as he had done for centuries beforehand. Short of the lack of flying cars in the 21st century, this was (rightly) viewed as one of mankind's greatest technological failures.

These dark ages seemingly ended in 2002 when iRobot introduced the Roomba to the world. The charmin device with its futuristic hockey puck aesthetic was not the mobile garbage can that man had dreamed of, but as a robotic vacuum cleaner it was close enough to lul most of mankind into a coma of complacency. Man loved the Roomba, and forgot about his dreams.

But some, like this brilliant Japanese hacker, didn't. One day, he realized the potential locked with a Kinect camera was the exact catalyst man needed to create a smarter, more mobile trashbin. With a good amount of moding, programming, and testing, we finally have a garbage can smart enough to follow the toss of an errant beer can:

Skip to 2:27 to see it in action

The best part about this project is that you can do it yourself!

...here assuming that you have hardwood floors, a working knowledge of Japanese, a background in DIY electronics projects, and a spare Kinect lying around.

We are now one step closer to becoming the society of hambeasts as foretold by Wall*E, and I'm rather ok with that.