Trash%20 Track%20 Project%20 Description%2002 26 09

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Trash%20 Track%20 Project%20 Description%2002 26 09

  1. 1.         Trash | Track      1. Project Summary Project Title. TRASH TRACK Project abstract. Our project is inspired by the NYC Green Initiative (www.nyc.gov/PlanNYC2030), which aims to increase the rate of waste recycling in the city to almost 100% by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, as today’s recycling systems are far from optimized. In New York, only 34% of waste is currently diverted from landfills for recycling. In trying to fill this gap between urban reality and urban vision we ask, how can pervasive technologies help expose the challenges of waste management and sustainability? And how can we suggest a future scenario where the same pervasive technologies can make 100% recycling a reality, thereby freeing urban land for other uses? Trash Track will tag different types of waste and follow these through the city’s waste management system to reveal the end-of-life journey of our everyday objects. Lead Contact Information. Musstanser Tinauli SENSEable City Laboratory, MIT 10-485, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02139 USA T ++1-617-2537926 | F ++1-617-2588081 | E mtinauli@mit.edu Key Team Members. In order to develop Trash Track we have put together a young, energetic and interdisciplinary team, comprised of architects, designers, electrical engineers, computer scientists and social scientists. Also, we propose to bring on board Armin Linke, a leading photographer and video artist, and distinguished advisors from MIT and Cambridge University. Key Team Members: (Address: SENSEable City Laboratory, MIT 10-485, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge MA) Carlo Ratti, group director (ratti@mit.edu) Assaf Biderman, group associate director (abider@mit.edu) Francesco Calabrese, team member (fcalabre@mit.edu) Fabien Girardin, team member (fabieng@mit.edu) Eugenio Morello, team member (eugenio@mit.edu) Christine Outram, team member (c_outram@mit.edu) Francisca Rojas, team member (fmr@mit.edu) Musstanser Tinauli, team member (mtinauli@mit.edu) Principal Research Advisors: Rex E. Britter (Professor at Cambridge University, Engineering Department) William J. Mitchell (Director MIT Design Laboratory) Consultants: Caterina Ginzburg (Urban participation consultant) Aaron Koblin (Interection design and visualization consultant) Armin Linke (Photographer and Video Artist) Stephen Miles (Research Scientist at MIT, Auto-ID Labs) Valerie M. Thomas (Associate Professor at Georgia Tech and recycling expert) 1 at MIT | Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City | Project Proposal |
  2. 2.         Trash | Track       2. Project Proposal Project Description. Our project is inspired by the NYC Green Initiative (www.nyc.gov/PlanNYC2030), which aims to increase the rate of waste recycling in the city to almost 100% by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, as today’s recycling systems are far from optimized. In New York, only 34% of waste is currently diverted from landfills for recycling1. In trying to fill this gap between urban reality and urban vision we ask, how can pervasive technologies help expose the challenges of waste management and sustainability? And how can we suggest a future scenario where the same pervasive technologies can make 100% recycling a reality, thereby freeing urban land for other uses? Trash Track will tag different types of waste and follow these through the city’s waste management system to reveal the final journey of our everyday objects. Our proposal relies on the development of smart tags, which will be attached to different types of garbage in order to track in real time each piece of waste as it traverses the city’s sanitation system. The goal of Trash Track is to reveal the disposal process of our everyday objects and waste, as well as to highlight potential inefficiencies in today’s recycling and sanitation systems. Trash Track aims to involve people from all five boroughs of the New York city in tagging thousands of active wireless location tags (based on mobile phone technology) on different types of waste products. The product range may include old computers, analog TVs, cereal boxes, glass containers, plastic bottles, and clothing. Tech trash is of particular interest to the project as it is increasingly posing an environmental challenge. We also plan to involve a small group of people who are in the process of relocating to a different city while leaving behind many of their possessions, providing a vivid slice of the dispersal of a New Yorker’s everyday objects. The journey of the tagged objects would be triangulated through the signals which will be emitted by the smart tags to capture the spatial coordinates and time stamps for each piece of garbage at regular intervals. The tags would also have a 3-axis accelerometer add-on that will provide a tangible and fine- grained dimension to each object’s end-of-life journey. The trails of the objects would be analyzed and real-time visualizations of the trails (through smart tags) would be made available on dedicated website application and projected onto urban-scale screens in a strategic city location (possibly the city’s Department of Sanitation at 125 Worth Street). Over the three months of this intervention, the visualizations will reveal the flow of waste from the point of disposal to the end-of-life destinations, be they within the city of New York or elsewhere in the world. We hypothesize that different types of waste, originating in different areas of the city, will take radically different paths in their end-of-life journeys. The smart tags will not only provide information on the time and location of wasted items being tracked but will also allow us to create a database of objects that can then inform consumers about the environmental costs and the embodied energy of the products they are buying and throwing away. The idea is to couple a high-tech application with a low-tech everyday human activity like waste disposal. We believe that by tracking garbage we can gain a deeper sense of responsibility for things that we usually forget after abandoning into the waste chain. Trash Track will make us face the consequences of our actions, hopefully helping us in making more sustainable decisions regarding the way we approach consumption and garbage. Trash Track aims to do extensive research on the way waste really works. This will be understood by following the trash trails. The trails will provide sufficient information on the life journey of the different kinds of waste. The data collected from thousands of tagged objects will help us understand the dispersion of different kinds of wastes. A detailed analysis of the data and supporting visualization will facilitate finding efficient solutions for the removal/management of waste; we term the process as ‘chain removal. Moreover, the same tracking approach developed for this project could be, in the not too distant future, implemented through a variety of other wireless technologies such as, Bluetooth, RFID, zigbee. WiFi, and more. This will effectively demonstrate a critical facet of a pervasive technologies utopia - that of an Internet of things which allows us to manage the environmental costs and the embodied energy of objects from production to consumption to end-of-life. We hope that Trash Track will contribute to 2 at MIT | Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City | Project Proposal |
  3. 3.         Trash | Track       formulating more effective recycling policies and lead to a ‘supply chain’ approach to waste, which we call the ‘removal chain’, as a reverse symmetrical system to the already existing delivery chain. Therefore, we aim at achieving a no-waste urban scenario. This is particularly important in the disposal of electronic products and other multi-component objects, where future tags could contain details on disassembly and reuse. 1 Ellick, Adam B. Houston Resists Recycling. New York Times. July 29, 2008. Project Phases The project has three main phases: - Launch: one month before the project inauguration. People in different areas of New York City will place a smart tag on, and dispose of, several pieces of garbage. The process will be documented through video and images. The documentation for the phase will be done with the help of professional photographer and video artist (Armin Linke). The kind of garbage (recyclable/non-recyclable, material, etc.) before disposal will be categorized by the people and categories of the each tag will be maintained in our database. - Exhibition: from one month before the project inauguration to the end of the exhibition. Once people release their waste out into the city we will begin to collect the location, time, and acceleration information from the smart tags, transmit them to our server at Senseable City Lab, process them, and produce the visualizations that will enable us to follow the paths of the products in space and time. To assure the continuity of the project in case some of the garbage has a short end-of-life path, we will space out the disposal of waste into the city throughout the three months of the exhibition. - Research: 2-3 years. The project aims to do extensive research on understanding the dynamics of waste management with the use of green tech smart-tagging system. The trails of the flow of garbage will provide us with vital information to study and analyze the actual dispersion of different kinds of wastes. The tagging process will require development of tags with vital properties such as low energy consumption, robustness in service, reliable technology, water resilience and cost efficiency. The project is the step towards the efficient use of mobile and communication technologies in understanding low tech process such as waste management. Public Access Trash Track visualizations will be made available to the public through a web based application and public screens set up in a strategic location in New York. The online application will offer visualizations in real-time, giving users the possibility to query the maps in order to reveal different facets of the tracked garbage. People will be able to track particular products at particular points in time (show me where all the carton products are right now), or trace the journey from beginning to end of one specific piece of garbage (where did my old TV go?). It will also be possible for people to play the visualizations for all the garbage tracked throughout the duration of the project. Technology There will be two main tasks from the technical point of view. First, to investigate the most suitable mobile and communication technology (MCT) that fulfills our application. The MCT devices are continuously shrinking in size, and can be easily obtained as mainstream commercial products. They are commonly available in sizes of 1.5x1.5 in and are 0.2 in thick, but can be even smaller. The existing devices in any case do not serve our requirements such as low-energy requirement, water resilience, cost efficiency, etc. The project will involve design of minimal mobile based technology with the sole 3 at MIT | Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City | Project Proposal |
  4. 4.         Trash | Track       motive of tracking. The compact dimensions of the developed minimal mobile phone/smart tag will allow us to tag many types of objects and embed the devices in a way that they are invisible from the outside. Second, A set up of the system architecture for continuously collecting the data while will be emitted from the smart-tags in regular intervals. This will be essential for tracking the objects. The system will also be linked with telecommunication providers for retrieving the location at the time of transmission. We will build a database to store and process the incoming data along with the interaction design of the visualizations. The interactive part of the system will allow users to track the trails of different kinds of waste in real-time. 4 at MIT | Situated Technologies: Toward the Sentient City | Project Proposal |

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