New Moves for an Old Can

Originally posted 2017-02-27 12:06:08

Erin Holbrook |

canWhy get up and throw trash in the can, when you can toss trash anywhere and the can moves to you? The Smart Trash Can does just that, with help from a sensor and computer, the can knows where your trash will fall and moves by itself to catch the trash before it hits the ground. A Japanese engineer, Minoru Kurata, created the Smart Trash Can that uses a wall-mounted sensor to pick up the direction of the thrown trash. A computer calculates wirelessly the trajectory of the item and signals the can to move to catch the item in the trash can with no user intervention.

The inventor won an excellence award at the Japan media arts festival. His invention keeps the center of gravity low to ensure the can does not tip over when moving to the trash. The inventor has received requests to make the invention a commercial product, however it needs more work first. The can does not have a huge success rate of catching the trash, currently it is at only 10-20% success.

Minoru is working on patenting the technology for the Smart Trash Can. A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the US Government to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time frame in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. This inventor may also have a process of use claim for the new and unobvious uses of old structures may be patentable.


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Key words: patent, invention, unobvious, commercial, wireless