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Western New England University Debuts Oscar Sort Intuitive Trash Robot

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNE) is the first U.S. institution of higher education to feature Oscar Sort, an AI-driven, intuitive, trash-sorting robot. This intuitive robot educates the campus community at the point of recycling and disposal and helps them to better understand how waste is measured, reduced, and eventually eliminated.

Oscar Sort is a signature product of Intuitive AI, a startup company founded by two students at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Oscar uses a display screen and AI camera to identify recycling from trash and instructs users which bin to use when disposing of waste.

According to Intuitive AI, 98% of the world’s waste ends up in landfills, oceans, or incineration chambers, in spite of more than 80% of everyday items being recycled. The core reasoning for this staggering disparity is rooted at the source — the point of disposal — where the user is unsure of how to dispose of their waste appropriately.

“The problem isn’t that people aren’t recycling. The problem is that they are doing it wrong and contaminating the process,” said Melissa Motyka, Aramark general manager at WNE University Commons. “Oscar educates — so it’s a natural fit for higher education. The real benefit is providing a greater understanding of what can be a confusing process for many. We’re hoping that this creates lifelong habits that students will share with their families when they return home, providing an even greater effect.”

Because Oscar’s software is consistently updated as close to real time as possible, WNE has the ability to be at the cutting edge of national and international guidelines for optimal waste and recycling procedures.

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