Google's second-generation Nest Hub smart display now comes with radar-based sleep tracking as it attempts to keep Amazon's Alexa at bay. The new Nest Hub costs £89.99 on launch, which makes it cheaper than its predecessor and slightly undercuts competitors of a similar size. The second-generation unit has the same design as the original but is ever-so-slightly taller. The 7in LCD screen looks great and is crisp enough for viewing at arm's length or further, making it perfect for use as a digital photo frame. The body is now made of recycled plastic and the screen is covered in an edgeless glass, which makes it easier to wipe clean.
Norwegian waste management frontrunner Bjorstaddalen has opened the country's first robotic sorting facility for C&D and C&I waste in the municipality of Skien in Norway. The fully automated robotic sorting station supplied by ZenRobotics features robotic arms that will perform up to 6000 picks per hour. The robotic sorting station is set up as a standalone waste sorting process connected to Bjorstaddalen's existing material recycling facility that has a total capacity of 150 000 tons per hour. By investing in AI and robot technologies, Bjorstaddalen aims to become a leader in material recycling in Norway. The robotic sorting station will substantially increase material recovery, reducing waste incineration and making a major leap toward the circular economy.
Nearly 1,000 "dark discharges" of untreated sewage from two water company treatment plants in England have been detected by scientists using artificial intelligence to map spills. The use of machine learning to shine a light on the scale of pollution from untreated effluent being spilled into rivers could be a crucial tool in efforts to improve the quality of rivers, a paper says. Prof Peter Hammond, visiting scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, who co-authored the paper published in the journal Clean Water, used artificial intelligence to analyse data from two unidentified water companies' waste treatment works from 2009 to 2018. The AI identified 926 "dark discharges" – or previously unknown spills – from the storm overflows at the two treatment plants. Discharges of untreated sewage from storm overflows, or CSOs, are permitted only in exceptional circumstances, such as extreme rainfall, the European commission has ruled.
Municipal solid waste management is a major challenge for nowadays urban societies, because it accounts for a large proportion of public budget and, when mishandled, it can lead to environmental and social problems. This work focuses on the problem of locating waste bins in an urban area, which is considered to have a strong influence in the overall efficiency of the reverse logistic chain. This article contributes with an exact multiobjective approach to solve the waste bin location in which the optimization criteria that are considered are: the accessibility to the system (as quality of service measure), the investment cost, and the required frequency of waste removal from the bins (as a proxy of the posterior routing costs). In this approach, different methods to obtain the objectives ideal and nadir values over the Pareto front are proposed and compared. Then, a family of heuristic methods based on the PageRank algorithm is proposed which aims to optimize the accessibility to the system, the amount of collected waste and the installation cost. The experimental evaluation was performed on real-world scenarios of the cities of Montevideo, Uruguay, and Bah\'ia Blanca, Argentina. The obtained results show the competitiveness of the proposed approaches for constructing a set of candidate solutions that considers the different trade-offs between the optimization criteria.
Google's latest Chromecast streaming media dongle is a bit different. With a full interface and a remote, the new Chromecast with Google TV costs £59.99 and sits above the basic £30 Chromecast. You can still Google Cast to the new device, but the new flat plastic dongle is more than just a simple receiver, running the full Android TV software similar to the Nvidia Shield or smart TVs from Sony and others. Once plugged in, the new Chromecast is set up using the Google Home app on an Android, iPhone or iPad in about five minutes. Scan the QR code on your TV, log in with the required Google account, and choose some apps to install.
Western Australia has announced it will invest AU$1 million into nine initiatives that are aimed at reducing e-waste. The AU$1 million investment will come out of the state's AU$16.7 million New Industries Fund, and is expected to divert approximately 1,000 tonnes of e-waste annually from landfill. "The selected projects will support the recovery of high value material, while diverting materials which may have presented risks to human health and the environment if not disposed of appropriately," Environment Minister Stephen Dawson added. Among the grant recipients are Curtin University, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Epichem, which are all set to receive AU$200,000 apiece for their respective projects. Curtin University will use the funds to create a mini plant for recycling and metal recovery from printed circuit boards and integrated circuits; CSIRO will develop "innovative biotechnology" for extracting precious and base metals from e-waste; and Epichem has agreed to test whether oxidative hydrothermal dissolution can break down e-waste to produce a range of useful chemicals.
The world is a gigantic landfill! Everyday tons of waste are generated from various households, hospitals, industries, construction and demolition sites and more. While today we have numerous ways to get rid of the accumulated waste, it still ends up affecting the safety and sustainability of the ecological system. Therefore, the best alternative is to reuse and recycle as much waste as possible. And offering an extra pair of hand in this are waste sorting and recycling robots.
Apple's HomePod mini is finally here – the iPhone maker's attempt to break the Amazon Echo-Google Home duopoly and put itself back into the voice assistant race. The HomePod mini costs £99 and sits below the full-sized HomePod costing £279. The speaker looks like a smaller, more spherical version of the big HomePod from almost three years ago. The outside is covered in a recycled plastic fabric mesh and there is a touch-sensitive disc at the top with a coloured LED display that lights up and pulsates as you interact with its voice assistant, Siri. It is an attractive object that is smaller and less prominent than its primary competition, the equally new Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio.
The news is full of stories and examples about how AI is impacting different industries. From manufacturing to finance, retail to pharmaceuticals, healthcare to insurance, and beyond, it's no doubt that AI is having a transformative impact on a wide range of industries. Likewise, various firms have been covering for years the impact AI is having on governments worldwide, with countries formulating strategic plans for AI and changing their way of operating in these remote-working reality days. However, not as much attention is placed on how local, state, city, and regional governments are implementing AI. After all, if AI is a transformative technology, shouldn't we be seeing its impact in our daily interactions with our local government officials?
For my final capstone project in Flatiron School's Immersive Data Science Program, I decided to test my newfound skills and continue furthering my personal investigations into the relationships that exist between data, waste, and energy. Recently, I have been learning more about the various ways that Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) can be transformed into energy. The most promising and efficient technology that I have come across to date is Plasma Arc Gasification. In my research, I discovered that understanding specific composition details about the MSW to be used as feedstock is one of many critical steps in designing a plasma gasification facility. What I set out to do for my capstone project, was to see if I could find some MSW collection datasets and perform a Feedstock Analysis with the intent of calculating specific Waste Type Compositions, Energy Density (kWh/kg), and Total Energy (kWh) for each sample.