Simplehuman garbage can reacts to users' activity


January 17, 2011

The simplehuman sensor can is a "touchless" garbage can that reacts to human activity

The simplehuman sensor can is a "touchless" garbage can that reacts to human activity

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Of all the things we expected to see on display at CES in Las Vegas, a garbage can was not one of them. Nonetheless, amongst the tablet computers, 3D camcorders and iPhone apps, there sat the simplehuman sensor can. Like some other “touchless” garbage cans, its built-in sensor detects when someone is nearby, causing the can to obligingly open its lid. What makes it special – perhaps – is the company’s claim that the can’s “multi-sense” technology can adapt to what the user is doing.

The stainless steel sensor can starts off in Ready mode, with its sensor’s trigger zone focused directly above the lid. This is said to limit incidences of it being triggered simply by people walking past, while still working well when users reach in with garbage. Once that initial reach-in has caused the lid to open, the can then goes into Task mode, extending its trigger zone higher to better detect user activity – this reportedly keeps it from closing before the user has finished dumping their whatever into it.

When you want to spend a little more quality time with your garbage, such as when changing the bag, it goes into Stay-Open mode. This mode is initiated by at least three seconds of continuous user activity, after which point the lid will stay open for 30 seconds regardless of what’s going on around it.

Should users wish to manually override the motorized lid and jam it down or yank it open by hand, a clutch mechanism allows them to do so without wrecking the motor.

The sensor can also incorporates carbon filters, for absorbing nasty odors.

It runs on six C-cell batteries, which the company claims could last for up to a year of use. An optional AC adapter is said to be on the way.

The simplehuman sensor can sells for an ungarbage-can-like US$225 for the 40L/10.5 US gallon model, or $275 for the 55L/14.5 US gallon version. The odorsorb charcoal inserts cost $5.99 each, and can reportedly be recharged by being left to sit in the sunlight.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

What ever happened to the foot pedal unit that flipped the lid open? Simple, but effective! ;-) What we really need is some sort of nagging buzzer or flashing lights to remind us to take it out (before we go outside!) - or better yet, for $225-$275 dollars I would expect a robot model that walks it\'s self out to the bins / the curb! ;-) Hey look below: The DustBot!

Henry Rody

No no no... what is so smart about a slightly more compliant trash can? Smart would be a trash can with a spectrum analyser, a bar code reader and a database that could read what was being put into it and treat /slice/dice and sort accordingly. The biggest speed bump on the road to recycling is the cost of sorting. Imagine if we did that right at the start?

Chris Clarke

Very interesting concept, I wonder where will all these lead in the future, if we already have such

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