3 thoughts on “Robot’s look into Agbogbloshie ‘E-waste goldmine’

  1. this is cool – machine vision! if you want to know more about how machines can recognize materials, Google “near infrared spectroscopy” or scan this simple intro to plastics recycling.

    here are a few direct links:
    Redwave – sensor technology for sorting
    Optical sorting of e-waste
    Recycling optics and photonics
    Handheld near-infrared spectrometer – check the last paragraph: “In addition to carpet recycling, the technology can be used to identify polymers in electronics recycling (e.g., PCs and monitors), identify polymer pellets and films in a postindustrial setting, and sort scrap automobile parts for recycling.”

    this is important because the TV case that you ID above CANNOT BE RECYCLED the way we normally think about plastics, i.e. melting and reforming. it is a thermosetting polymer, as opposed to a thermoplastic one. therefore, its chemical production is irreversible: it has 3-dimensional chemical bonds that make it brittle, but also durable; they also mean that it will burn before melting. depending on what material, your Wall-E type robot identifies, the process or recycling (or downcycling or upcycling) will change radically.

  2. Thank you for your reply and the many references you’ve listed.

    Yasmine told us that, indeed, some materials can’t be recycled but find an another life -and use- with Agbogbloshie workers. That is what I’m tryin’ to show here, that a TV case can become a stool over there.

    This is a first draft and I’ll certainly produce some other work possibilities by Wall-E robots, showing different recycling type.

  3. Looking forward to see what’s next. Should we develop wearable technologies to detect levels of toxicity in the environment?

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