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Microsoft’s Cutting Edge AI is Relegated to Picking Up Cigarette Butts

Project BB's litter-collecting Beach Bot.
Project BB

Cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in the world, and they’re especially hard to clean up on a hot, sandy beach. To help mitigate the problem, Dutch company TechTics designed BeachBot (or BB), a robot that exists solely to clean the beach of cigarette butts.

While cigarette butts may seem like a low-priority problem, they actually present a bigger threat to wildlife than plastic candy wrappers or other forms of litter. After all, cigarette filters are made of non-biodegradable plastic fibers and contain all the chemicals (arsenic, nicotine, etc) that we associate with cigarettes.

TechTics built the BeachBot’s AI using Microsoft’s Trove machine learning system, which uses real-world photographers to find unique, educational images for AI (in this case, pictures of cigarette butts on the beach). Still, BeachBot needs a lot of training, as it can be difficult (even for a person) to spot a crusty old stogie in the lumpy, bumpy sands of a beach.

To help regular people train the BeachBot AI, TechTics is working on a mobile game. While the details of this game are a bit unclear, it sounds like players will drive a virtual BeachBot and identify any waste that they come across. TechTics is also interested in a VR app, which could let you ride in a BeachBot while it works.

BeachBot is still in the early stages of its development, so don’t expect to meet one at a beach anytime soon. You can subscribe to the BeachBot newsletter if you want to keep up with the device.

Source: Project BB via Windows Central

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »