Everyone knows the ocean is not a gigantic garbage can, but unless you live in the middle of Asia, below sea level, Utah, or some other inhospitable place, all trash eventually makes it to sea. This is a problem not only for the the sea and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but for shorelines as well. For her Hackaday Prize entry, [Erin] is building a series of robots designed to walk the shore, pick up garbage, deposit it in a bin, and do it again after the next high tide.
The key problem for a robot that picks up trash is simply finding that trash. This means cameras and a lot of computing power. Lucky for [Erin], smartphones are cheap and have excellent cameras and a ton of processing power. The brains for these robots will be built around an off-the-shelf smartphone mounted on a pan/tilt mast on the bot.
[Erin] is already testing her bot, and after a few field tests she noticed a family left behind their trash on the beach. The robot moved into action before the flying rats could choke on a bottlecap, and the cleanup operation was a success. Not bad for a prototype, and an excellent entry to the Hackaday Prize.