‘First AI Trash Can in Texas’ Helps You Sort Recycling with a Robotic Glance

Oscar, the AI-powered robotic trash can at AT&T's Dallas HQ, can spot a recyclable in nothing flat. Developed by Vancouver, Canada-based Intuitive AI, the robot checks out any trash item you hold up to it and tells you whether it goes in its recycling, compost, or landfill bins.

AT&T’s downtown Dallas headquarters has a new employee of sorts: a robotic AI trash can named Oscar. Developed by Vancouver, Canada-based Intuitive AI, the robot checks out any trash item you hold up to it and tells you whether it goes in its recycling, compost, or landfill bins.

Roman Smith, director of global environmental sustainability & social innovation at AT&T, showed off Oscar for a recent CW33 newscast. 

Intuitive’s Oscar Sort is an AI-powered waste sorting system that automatically identifies recyclables providing people with clear recycling instructions. [Image: Intuitive; DI]

“Oscar is the first AI trash can in Texas,” Smith told CW33. “It’s a brain that helps us sort our trash. It’s basically taken the guesswork out of where trash goes.”

Oscar is friendly, too.

“It’s a trash can that actually talks to you,” Smith told CW33, acknowledging one interesting tidbit: When the device says robotically, “Hi there, I’m Oscar,” it’s a woman’s voice you hear.

But no matter what Oscar’s voice sounds like, its results speak for themselves.

“It’s been great,” Smith said. “In fact, we’ve already started seeing data that shows it’s pushing our diversion from landfill to about 40%, which is awesome. As time goes on, that’ll only increase.”

“It’s going to learn over time and get smarter and smarter,” Smith added. 

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