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Rubbish Sorting



Have you ever been at a loss for whether something is recyclable, compostable, or if you have to put it in the trash? Rules differ depending on the municipality and it can be hard to keep up. I would love to see a Misty Skill in which Misty can answer you when you ask what bin to put your rubbish in. I think this could be educational, not only allowing you to put that particular piece of waste in the correct bin, but also having a memorable experience so that next time you need to toss that same type of waste in the same city, you know where it goes. Misty may need to use a headlamp or flash function to ensure consistent lighting for object recognition. I’d imagine this to be a very complex problem, spanning a lot farther than adequate lighting. Thoughts on feasibility?


Fast autonomous sorting of waste materials is hard. There is a company based in Colorado that is building robots in this problem space: AMP Robotics (


However, in a casual home setting, Misty robots can have two advantages unavailable to industrial recycling robots:

  1. no scale-cost pressure, i.e., usually OK to take more time to make the right decision because there is no need to scale to high throughput in common houses;

  2. human interaction is already assumed to be a part of the solution, i.e., the end goal is not full sorting automation (at least, not anytime soon).

The option to interact with the human allows interactive problem solving. For example, the Misty robot can ask the human to rotate the item, or it can ask what the item was used for. The Misty-human dialogue can go back-and-forth like in expert systems.


Love it Nat! Bit like this lad:

May I propose the highly original name “The Rubbish Sorter 2000”.