x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Smart bin grabs top prize in UAE science awards

The solar-powered rubbish bin, invented by a goup of Sharjah University students, alerts collection authorities when it is full.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, presents prizes yesterday to winners of the foundation’s Think Science Awards, which aim to help “explore Emirati science talent at a young age”. Delores Johnson / The National
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, presents prizes yesterday to winners of the foundation’s Think Science Awards, which aim to help “explore Emirati science talent at a young age”. Delores Johnson / The National

ABU DHABI // A smart rubbish bin that tells you when it is full took the top prize at a science competition yesterday.

Created by a team from Sharjah University, the invention placed first in the higher education category at the Think Science awards, held by the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development.

A solar-powered sensor wirelessly transmits to the authorities, letting them know when the bin is full.

The aim is to cut the fuel consumption of bin lorries by reducing unnecessary collections. It also prevents rubbish overflowing on to the street.

“It took a year of hard work and with help from our professors and the municipality, we were able to finish it,” said Ahmed Falah Al Balwa, a member of the team.

The project was inspired by an unlikely source. “Our professor was driving to the eastern area ... and there were camels eating from bins near the road,” Mr Al Balwa said. “He felt pity for them because with the heat from the sun, the garbage is poisonous to the animals.

“Our project means the bins can be kept closed and prevents any pollution into the air.”

One study suggested the device could save collection authorities Dh18,000 a day, Mr Al Balwa said.

Eight universities and 60 schools took part in the awards, presented by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development.

“The awards are based on adopting a model of venture philanthropy to design sustainable projects of social value that can positively impact the UAE community,” he said.

“The programme aims to explore Emirati science talent at an early age, to support and empower them to unleash their potential.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae