Kinect-based Trash Can Catches trash You Throw Away

February 19, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Minoru Kurata is a name that is going to be famous in the coming days as he has created a Kinect-based Trash can aka ‘Smart Can’ that will move autonomously to catch the trash you throw at it.

Its not basically ‘throw at it. Throwing anywhere near to this awesome can will do the trick. Before getting into the technical details, though one admits it or not, everybody has tried throwing things into the wastebasket and failed at least once. So, if you want to be the basketball player you always wanted to be at your home or at office, wait for this smart can to get commercialised.

Minoru Kurata is an engineer at a Japanese automaker and has won an Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival for this cool gadget.


When one tosses trash at it, a sensor detects the position of the trash and sends the information to a PC. The PC calculates where the trash will fall, and communicates it to the can via wireless connection.

For achieving autonomous movement of the trash can, he created a special mechanism, with a single axis for both the wheel rotation and the change in angle. So even if the wheels rotate, the position of the can itself doesn’t change.

The more appealing thing is that the whole mechanism, the circuitry, and the motor controller all fit within the diameter of the can. If the center of gravity is high, the can will fall over and so he made the can low, narrow, and compact, to keep the center of gravity as low as possible.

Right now, Kurata is working to patent the technology for the Smart Trash Can. The probability that the trash will go in is not very high, and currently accounts to around 10-20%. But as soon as he figures it out to increase the success rate, we might be looking at a product with massive sales in the future.

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