Seattle U graduate students build a droid that collects trash – The Spectator
If a Seattle University student were to walk through the Sinegal Center’s Billodue Makerspace on March 3, they’d come across an artificial intelligence robot capable of picking up litter. The device, part of a range of prototypes, represents a vision of a community-funded cleanliness initiative.
Altanai Bisht originally invented the robot, called “RamuDroid”, which is currently being developed by her and two other Seattle University students who are also pursuing master’s degrees in computer science. The students, Bisht, Arielle Wilson and Zarchary Jeffreys, are working towards a future in which communities can invest in robots that pick up trash and hazardous waste, thereby generating bitcoins through the service they provide to their neighbors.
“There have been a few iterations before this, but none as advanced as this one. This one contains the cumulative intelligence that we have gathered through our mastery program, with the good intention of cleaning up hazardous waste We’re working on improving the model we have,” Bisht said. “The current model was designed to pick up plastic litter sheets, paper cups and things like that.
The team provided a demonstration of the software and the robot’s ability to pick up litter. Other students working in the makerspace stopped what they were doing to watch the AI recognize the debris, steer towards it, and pick up the object. The product has the potential to solve a pressing problem in urban spaces: waste and hazardous materials that make communities less safe.
It is particularly urgent problem in the Emerald City. In February 2021, Seattle sanitation workers collected a million pounds of waste parks and community areas. In addition to posing problems of aesthetics and property value, waste is a health hazard. In one trial 2019 filed by King County v Purdue Pharma, the county argued that the opioid epidemic has led to a needle problem in the city, including the accumulation of drug paraphernalia in public spaces.
Because the RamuDroid is capable of machine learning, the bot has the potential to learn to identify specific hazards and deal with them without the need for direct human assistance.
“We could train him to handle hazardous waste and biochemical waste,” Bisht said.
The team is passionate about its work and excited about how it integrates development block chain technology in robot functions. Using blockchain technology would allow ownership of droids to be easily delegated based on each robot’s unique digital fingerprint.
“So the idea is that nobody likes picking up trash. Simple problem, right? We asked, ‘what’s the coolest way to solve this problem?’ Robots, AI, and Blockchain So, being computer scientists and students, we decided “why not? Let’s try to fix it,” Jeffreys said.
The end goal of this product would involve citizens buying a RamuDroid and issuing shares in the product in the form of a non-fungible tokenwhich would produce a cryptocurrency for cleanup projects.
The team has broken down their tasks into specific robot components and are fine-tuning their work for an upcoming competition. Jeffreys is the electronics and hardware expert, while Bisht focuses on the AI and media streaming elements of the bot. Wilson is doing additional work on Bisht’s product.
“I’m building on what she’s already created, so right now I’m working on turning it into a lightweight model,” Wilson said.
So far, the RamuDroid project has created a technologically sophisticated and efficient product with minimal budget. The team is currently working on developing an ideal power source for the RamuDroid and is looking for new sources of funding to improve the bot.
“Right now, since we’re pretty much assembling Lowe’s toys and parts, we’re using power sources that aren’t ideal,” Jeffreys said. “Now we have to make it bigger, which means all new parts and more powerful engines.”
The team participates in Hackathon Solana Riptide, which will include a cash prize that Seattle U students will use to develop the project. They hope that with additional funding, later versions of the RamuDroid will have wider trash-sorting capabilities, more sustained battery life, and a larger frame. Given the tremendous progress the team has made so far, the project has the potential to deliver innovative new technology being developed at the heart of Seattle U’s new Sinegal Center.
As the team continues to improve the RamuDroid, students in the makerspace will be able to watch an artificial intelligence program learn how to perform complex tasks in a way that could make the city cleaner and safer in the future.