TrashTrack (2009)

Software, video-projection (Carlo Ratti, Assaf Biderman, Dietmar Offenhuber, Eugenio Morello, Musstanser Tinauli, Kristian Kloeckl)

Imagine a future where immense amounts of trash didn’t pile up on the peripheries of our cities: a future where we understand the “removal-chain” as we do the “supply-chain”, and where we can use this knowledge to not only build more efficient and sustainable infrastructures but to promote behavioural change. In this future city, the invisible infrastructures of trash removal will become visible and the final journey of our trash will no longer be “out of sight, out of mind”.

Inspired by the NYC Green Initiative, TrashTrack focuses on how pervasive technologies can expose the challenges of waste management and sustainability. Can these same pervasive technologies make 100 percent recycling a reality?

TrashTrack uses hundreds of small, smart, location aware tags: a first step towards the deployment of smart-dust-networks of tiny locatable and addressable microeletromechanical systems. These tags are attached to different types of trash so that these items can be followed through the city’s waste management system, revealing the final journey of our everyday objects in a series of real time visualisations.

The project is an initial investigation into understanding the “removal-chain” in urban areas and it represents a type of change that is taking place in cities: a bottom-up approach to managing resources and promoting behavioural change through pervasive technologies. TrashTrack builds on previous work of the SENSEable City Lab in its exploration of how the increasing deployment of sensors and mobile technologies radically transforms how we understand and describe cities.

http://senseable.mit.edu/trashtrack/

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