Nishat Kurwa on Monday, Sep. 24th
Three fourths of the Razr phones out there could be finding a home outside of the dump with a San Diego company’s smart ATMs.
The National Science Foundation provided support to ecoATM to refine what began as wooden-box prototypes that required a human attendant to facilitate the return/exchange of obsolete or aging electronic devices. Its current design uses machine intelligence/AI to figure out what device has been dropped in and its approximate market value, to give you (or your charity of choice) a cash return, and possibly find a home for the devices that can be re-used.
Here’s NSF’s principal investigator on the product, Mark Bowles:
“We are now able to tell the difference between cracked glass on a phone, which is an inexpensive fix, versus a broken display or bleeding pixels, which is generally fatal for the device,” says Bowles. “We were warned by leading machine-vision experts that solving the inspecting/grading problem-with an infinite variety of possible flaws-was an impossible problem to solve. Yet with our NSF support, we solved it through several years of research and development, trial and error, use of artificial intelligence and neural network techniques.”
More on the product, also supported by Coinstar and Silicon Valley Bank, here.