A Trashy Game: Where Technology and Trash Converge

For those who know me best, I am a techy at heart.  If I am not playing around with some technology, I’m letting my mind be wondered in fascination to what can be.  And, oops, I did it again (yes, queue the Britney Spears hit wonder!) … and have found, on a Sunday evening, I’m perusing for cool tech gadgets coming to our world soon.

Take a look at TetraBIN.  This is a high-tech trashcan that is enticing any soul passing it’s way to fill it with trash, versus the alternative in dumping it elsewhere.  An idea birthed from an incubator challenge “in response to a research project brief that investigated the use of digital technologies for encouraging positive behaviour change in the city.”  The concept is simple: influence behavior change in disposing waste in the appropriate place thru the convergence of gaming, design, and technology.  The founders, a trio combination the bring the compilation of multi-displinary creative, software, hardware, sustainability, and digital technologies … they are on a mission to improve urban livability.  And, don’t be fooled into thinking these guys are fresh from dropping out of their Freshman year at some Ivy League school … you can find published books and research articles, award-winning accolades, and university lecturing on their repertoire.

So, what is so great about their trash bin?  From the words of TetraBIN’s website itself: TetraBIN explores how digital technologies can be used to motivate positive change in urban environments. It uses gamified approaches – making use of game mechanics and game thinking – turn an activity traditionally considered trivial, such as depositing rubbish into a bin, into a joyful event.

These approaches are designed to enhance the experience of interacting with urban furniture, with the goal of encouraging more active attitudes from people formerly partaking passively in a relatively insignificant activity. In particular it tackles the problem of littering by associating the act of rubbish disposal with a fun and rewarding activity. The act of putting rubbish into a bin is turned into a game, where a piece of rubbish is mapped to an interaction within a game world displayed on a computer controlled screen surrounding the bin.

Depositing of rubbish into a bin, which is normally seen as a passive act requiring minimum thought is given importance as the participant must drop their rubbish into the bin at the right moment to advance further in the game. This experience of an augmented reality in which actions in the real world affect the virtual world lead the participant to consider environmental issues facing the city, specifically the collection and management of waste.”

These awesome “rubbish” (I love this British form for saying trash) receptacles are currently being offered down under, that’s right – Australia.  But, here’s to hoping they get to the U.S. soon because I’m just eager to play with one!  Better yet … I want one for my house!

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