Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Artificial intelligence helps sort used batteries

19.12.2012
Research at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden has resulted in a new type of machine that sorts used batteries by means of artificial intelligence (AI). One machine is now being used in the UK, sorting one-third of the country’s recycled batteries.

‘I got the idea at home when I was sorting rubbish. I thought it should be possible to do it automatically with artificial intelligence,’ says Claes Strannegård, who is an AI researcher at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology.


Optisort Battery Sorter

Strannegård contacted the publically owned recycling company Renova in Gothenburg, Sweden, who were positive to an R&D project concerning automatic sorting of collected batteries. The collaboration resulted in a machine that uses computerised optical recognition to sort up to ten batteries per second.

The sorting is made possible by the machine’s so-called neural network, which can be thought of as an artificial nervous system. Just like a human brain, the neural network must be trained to do what it is supposed to do. In this case, the machine has been trained to recognise about 2,000 different types of batteries by taking pictures of them from all possible angles.

As the batteries are fed into the machine via a conveyor belt, they are ‘visually inspected’ by the machine via a camera. The neural network identifies the batteries in just a few milliseconds by comparing the picture taken with pictures taken earlier. The network is self-learning and robust, making it possible to recognise batteries even if they are dirty or damaged. Once the batteries have been identified, compressed air separates them into different containers according to chemical content, such as nickel-cadmium or lithium.

‘For each single battery, the system stores and spits out information about for example brand, model and type. This allows the recycler to tell a larger market exactly what types of material it can offer, which we believe may increase the value through increased competition,’ says Hans-Eric Melin, CEO of the Gothenburg-based company Optisort, which has developed the machine.

This means that besides the environmental benefits of the machine, there are commercial benefits. Today the collection and sorting companies are actually paying money to get rid of the batteries. But Melin thinks that real-time battery data could spark a new market for battery waste, where large volumes are traded online.

So far, the company has delivered two machines – one to Renova in Gothenburg (where half of all the batteries collected in Sweden are sorted) and one to G&P Batteries in the UK. The interest in Optisort and its machine is rising and Strannegård, who founded the company, is very happy his idea is turning out to work so well in the real world.

‘This is sparking further research and development so that we will eventually use artificial intelligence to sort all types of waste,’ he says.

Link to video showing how the machine works:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OugqnVO7WiU

For more information, please contact:
Claes Strannegård
tel.: +46 (0)707-52 78 69
e-mail: claes.strannegard@gu.se
Hans-Eric Melin
tel.: +46 (0)733-80 03 71
e-mail: hanseric.melin@optisort.com

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OugqnVO7WiU

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion
24.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot
21.07.2017 | Stanford University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>