Forget the autonomous car, meet the trash can that takes itself out

Chores have been the bane of both kids and adults for about four generations now and one of the biggest irritations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is taking out the trash.

Cue the robots.

Not like, Westworld-style, shoot-you-in-the-head robots, but just a cool new invention by smart home company Rezzi that’s a trash can that takes itself out. Heck, it even just won an award from digital manufacturing leader Protolabs, a company celebrating its 20th year in business this year that specializes in making 3D-printed sheet metal and injection-molded custom parts.

Rezzi’s new trash can is called the SmartCan, which eliminates the need to drag your garbage and recycling bins up to the curb on trash day. It is the official recipient of Protolabs’ latest Cool Idea award for innovation in automated consumer electronics technology.

The SmartCan is motorized and will respond to commands from the corresponding mobile app and take itself out. Users can set the specific day and time they need their trash to be at the curb for pickup by your local garbage professionals, which if you’re lucky don’t wake you up at dawn on Mondays like some of us.

“We want to help people eliminate unnecessary chores from their daily lives,” Rezzi CEO and SmartCan creator Andrew Murray said in a release. “We see an opportunity to take IoT beyond just turning off lights or turning on music, and really help alleviate the burden of the mundane physical tasks that everyone faces.”

As usual, no word on price, availability, and barely a word on when you can buy the SmartCan, although we can report that Rezzi plans to bring the device to market by late 2020. That said, the SmartCan, which clearly came with some kind of monetary value and probably some additional backing from Protolabs, has been rapidly pushed into product prototyping and testing, bumping up its production schedule by half a year at the minimum.

It doesn’t hurt that Protolabs’ specialty is making parts for things like the SmartCan. The device’s entire mechanical structure was built by Protolabs based on Rezzi’s design specs, including the main body fabricated from sheet metal, the drive train assembly, and the plastic cover, made by a 3D printer, no less.

“Much like what autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners have done for keeping a clean home and what smart doorbells have done for home security, SmartCan completes the recurring task of taking out the garbage,” Vicki Holt, president and CEO of Protolabs, said in a statement. “We’re seeing more and more autonomous products in the consumer electronics industry, aimed at reducing time spent doing less desirable things and enabling more time for valued activities.”

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