Mirco-Plastic Cleaning robot!

A robot that removes microplastics from the surface of the water.

Photo of Sim Bilal
19 35

Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Environment

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

insta @eggpon_ or @trashingthingla

Date You Started Your Project Started

08.16. 19

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Microplastics exist because of poor understanding and design, easy profit margins, etc. "Microplastics originate from a range of sources.. bigger plastic debris that breaks down into smaller bits. Microbeads are a kind of microplastic are manufactured plastic added to health and beauty products as exfoliants." Typically, MicroPlastics are about 5mm. It matters because it's harmful to the health of animals, the environment and its a pollutant.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I'll be honest, my robot is not the best solution nor will it solve the problem. I can only hope that will raise awareness for the issue of microplastics, as they are on every corner of the planet, decrease the number of microplastics in the waters of the world in a way that will not cause more harm nor is invasive. As well as minimize the amount of damage caused by microplastics and other pollutants on the environment. The greatest solution by far would be to ban the creation of microplastics. Which I will do, I have already started talking in my community members about not using plastic produces and I practice it in my own life. In regards to my robot: First: I have already entered design and prototyping phasing with CAD Second: Testing - We plan to start in Nov Third: Redesign Fourth: testing Fifth: Trying to use it globally

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

This project is very important to me because I'm an environmentalist, I have been since before I learned what the word meant, but I'm also an inventor and an engineer and a coder. I also have talents in coding and robotics and cad as you can see. Therefore I view it as an obligation for me to raise awareness on the issue and create solutions if I can considering that it is with my power to do so I must. The world is literally on fire, however I focused on this issue because I love the ocean and marine life has always been so interesting for me. I'm always outside and to see microplastic on beaches and lakes that I visit and skimboard on is hurtful. To know even if I can't see it, its there. They are literally in the air, the water, our bodies, our food.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

When someone gets involved they are committing to technical solutions to repair problems that we created with technical innovations

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Below you will find links to what other people are doing, a kid this year won the google science fair for developing a chemical solution. We have a robot which is easier to mangage, take to market, and be used in a huge range of water types. Also, it is safer to avoid accidents with with wildlife. Other projects are only focused on small scale. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lifestraw-filters-remove-99-999-of-microplastics-from-drinking-water-in-independent-lab-testing-300633254.html https://www.businessinsider.com/microplastics-water-pollution-solution-from-google-2019-8

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We plan to make a difference by giving marine researchers access to the findings from our project and connecting people to real issues with plastic waste and in particular microplastic waste.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Next level is to actually build our design and test in lake Tahoe. I'm going to share my findings with Algalita, my local community, and government and attempt a brand audit. *I'm sorry I know this Application sucks I didn't make time till now

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Donations less than $100

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • T-Mobile page or contact

19 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Spam
Photo of Flex
Team

Nice!

Spam
Photo of Grace Messer
Team

Hi Sim, I really appreciate your passion. Microplastics are honestly terrifying. I heard the other day how it is even in the sealing of tea bags so you can't even have a quick cup of tea without consuming plastic. What is it, like 5 grams of plastic that the average person consumes everyday? The weight of a credit card. I'm really excited to hear that you are stepping up to make a difference. It's a really good idea.

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Hi Grace I appreciate your kind words! Thank you for the compliments!

Spam
Photo of Grace Messer
Team

Hi Sim!
Your idea keeps coming to mind for me and I want to ask you a couple questions that might be useful to think through as you design. Keep in mind that you may have already covered this and I just don't speak tech!(:
I was wondering if you would have to keep resetting it. Like, if you were to tackle an area farther out in the ocean how would that work as far as battery life and space to keep all the plastic it is collecting? Would you just need to have a boat nearby as a robot HQ, similar to a scuba setup?
And then, since depending on different types of plastics and different water types (salt and fresh) the plastic could either sink or float, would the robot be able to both clean the water surface as well as the sea floor/lakebed?
If it was this way would you be able to use solar for the battery or would the saltwater ruin it? Could it be an external solar charging system that could have an attachable battery that could still fit in and be waterproofed, the way an action camera is?
That's all I've got, for some reason I keep thinking of that movie, "Agent Cody Banks" with all the little nanobots.
I hope at least some of that was useful!
Best of luck, Grace

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Hey Grace! I'm flattered that I made some sort of impression! Sweet! Thank you for your question! They have defiantly been thought-provoking. Lol! I value people who have different experiences and backgrounds often they have the most helpful insight simply because they don't see the world through my eyes! We would have a series of models, each reaching a level of independents that wasn't achievable by earlier models. The first of which would have to have human "reset" or collection. Its most feasible this way, and we considered placing it on research vessels. We have designed what is an internal hull separated*, with what we project has a carrying capacity of 4 pounds of microplastics. (*from the rest of the electronics, including the brain, battery, motors, etc). Great points, however, a large majority of micro-plastics will float, we decided that it is better to focus this effort on floaters in order to avoid causing a further environmental disturbance. There are far too many living organisms on the sea and lake floor.
We greatly want to use solar panels! It's one of the most environmentally sound, cost effect, and power-efficient. Perhaps having a removable battery would be helpful, it wasn't something we considered. Thank you for theses questions it was fun answering them!
We should connect on Ig! @eggpon_

Spam
Photo of Grace Messer
Team

That's true, best not to suck up any plankton and accidentally destroy the whole food chain! Could you imagine?

I think it would be a lot easier to charge, switch out, fix etc. if the battery was removable. Of course it is just an idea and I have no background in building things (other than a ladder for my chickens, which turned out great so I think you can trust me! haha)
I would say yeah, totally but I'm lame and only have snapchat and Pinterest...so...do you want to trade gardening and decor inspo?

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Lol! I agree there a definitely a lot of positives to having a removable battery. It definitely is worth incorporating! Lol, no I trust you! I have neither of those, but I love gardening!

Spam
Photo of Dominique Hebert Bordelon
Team

Great idea my friend

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Cheers Brooke! Thanks for the kind words!

Spam
Photo of Nikil Ragav
Team

Hey, this is a cool idea! A couple of my university friends are working on a similar robot idea as their senior design project.

I hope your robot works! How do you plan to get the materials / build it? Is there some local mechanical production shop that will help you machine and assemble the robot so that it is watertight?

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Hey Nikil! Thank you for the compliment! This is something I'm very passionate about! Brilliant! I'm most glad your friends are also working on this and that I'm not the only one working and recognizing the importance of this issue. Great Questions! As far as prototyping, that is literally one of my jobs and an area I have a decent knowledge. I'm using a hackerspace based here in LA, for access to tools, machines, and materials I don't have access to in school. I also have support from my professors, through my jobs, and from internships I have connects to more experienced engineers who have all been helpful!

Spam
Photo of Audrey Acken
Team

Hi Sim, such a great idea for such a huge problem! I'm not sure if you already saw this but the winner of this year's Google science fair tackled the same challenge with a novel approach as well! https://blog.google/outreach-initiatives/education/2019-google-science-fair-winners/

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Hiya Audrey! Thank you I did see that project! One idea I was considering was to autonomize, the use of ferrofluids with my robot.
Cheers, Thanks for the kind words!

Spam
Photo of Joseph Zhong
Team

Brilliant idea!

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Cheers Joesph, Thanks for the kind words!

Spam
Photo of Karina
Team

Hey Sim!

This is really cool! I was wondering how exactly the robot will remove microplastics? Would it be a more hardware-focused innovation or more on the programming side?

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Hiya Catherine, thank you for the question, I appreciate your interest. Currently, I am researching two very different methods in order to remove microplastics in the most successful way possible. The first is to use a membrane to filter out microplastics the second issue is ferrofluid and collect the masses that form. It is my intention to use both hardware programming Innovations in order to be most successful.
Cheers -Sim

Spam
Photo of Victoria T.
Team

Literally love and support this 100%!!! ❤❤❤❤❤

Spam
Photo of Sim Bilal
Team

Thank you Thank you! ❤❤❤