MIT’s Trash Track Works With The Internet Of Things

By on July 17, 2013
Connected City

Here’s How MIT’s Trash Track Works With The Internet Of Things

“Nobody wonders where, each day, they carry their load of refuse. Outside the city, surely; but each year the city expands, and the street cleaners have to fall farther back. The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, become stratified, extend over a wider perimeter”

– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The MIT Trash Track project caught my eye recently. It is directed by Carlo Ratti from the MIT SENSEable City Lab, and explores the “real-time city” by studying the way sensors and electronics relate to the city around us. Trash Track is the Internet of Things for garbage.

Trash Track is a sort of reverse-engineering of the Internet of Things. It gives us new information from the billions of devices and objects around the globe. As these objects become smart, we’ll be able to really know exactly what happens – even after something is ‘thrown away’.

The project is detailed here. The project’s website asks “Why do we know so much about the supply chain and so little about the removal chain?”

Great question! The project involved volunteers in Seattle, Washington, and 3,000 RFID-tagged pieces of trash. According to MIT, “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 behavioral change through pervasive technologies. Trash Track 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.”

About Beverly Macy

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension and speaks extensively on the subject of disruptive technology and social business.

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