My following article below was originally published by SERIOUS WONDER:
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “44% of assessed stream miles, 64% of assessed lake acres, and 30% of assessed bay and estuarine square miles are not clean enough to support uses such as fishing and swimming.” This is in the United States alone, not taking into account how much pollution makes up the entire globe in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. For one Italian group, however, known as inktobit, their worries are in the Tiber river which makes its way through the city of Rome.
Heavily impacted by surface and chemical pollution, the Tiber river is being targeted as a suitable candidate for automated cleaning via robots. Known as Jbin, this machine will float along the Tiber river and cycle out the pollutants with its central body, which makes up propellers designed to create a surrounding vortex as it’s anchored to the bottom.
Using its propellers to create a vortex, the Jbin is able to scoop up the surrounding pollution. From there, water continues flowing to the base of the vortex, making its way through a filter consisting of bacteria used for purification. This allows for clean water to be jettisoned back into the river, replacing what was once polluted dirty water.
“A huge percentage of the pollution of marine waters is in fact due to debris and waste transported by large rivers. Looking at other European capitals, but also simply at other major Italian cities like Turin, we decided that our project would be proposed as a solution to return the Tiber to the citizens.” – inktobit
The Jbin’s dome communicates its filling status via LED lights, in which its central body contains an electro-mechanical system used for both filling and emptying. The LED lights also provide an artistic advantage, creating slight illumination through the river as it works. Anchored to the riverbed, its tripod emits ultrasonic waves to alert nearby fish of Jbin’s presence.
Serious Wonder was able to speak briefly with inktobit’s Sara Bianchetti and Leonardo Graziano, asking them their thoughts on how they’d like to see Jbin perform in the coming years:
“Jbin represents a chance for job creation – it would need someone to take care of it. Furthermore its lighting capacity and the possibility to create energy makes it a potential tool for riverside activity. Meaning that you could use it as a light or energy source for floating museums, cafes, docks for city-based floating transportation, etc.” – inktobit
The Jbin isn’t the only robot in the world set out in cleaning up the world we humans left in pieces. In fact, there’s already a very large market for cleaner ‘bots, in which companies like iRobot dedicate their resources on. We shouldn’t blame ourselves, either, for not being able to clean up our own mess. After all, it’s easier to pollute than it is to clean, and the amount of manpower that would be needed to clean all pollution in the world would be astronomical.
Whether people like it or not, we need robots to help us take care of our planet. Soon there’ll be robots in every corner of the world, helping create a clean living space with maximum efficiency. They’ll be in our sewers, in our oceans; they’ll be traversing the skies and, yes, even inside ourselves. From there we’ll need the robots more than ever – not just to ensure a clean and healthy environment, but to ensure our own biological health as well.