Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Meet Greyparrot, a London-based startup that wants to improve waste management. The company uses computer vision to make sorting more efficient at different stages of the waste chain. And Greyparrot has been selected as a wildcard for the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

The company has been using machine learning with images of different types of waste to train a model that detects glass, paper, cardboard, newspapers, cans and different types of plastics (black trays, PET, HDPE).

Greyparrot can then use a simple camera combined with a computer to sort waste in a fraction of a second.

There are many different use cases for this kind of technology, but it seems particularly promising in sorting facilities. Those facilities already use a ton of machines to separate small and big objects, metal from plastics, etc. But many of them still rely on humans at the end of the process to pick up the last remaining false positive objects.

While it’s never possible to sort everything with a 100% accuracy, you want to get as close as possible to 100%. Sorting facilities create huge cubes of PET plastics and send them to countries on the other side of the world so that they can transform PET into something else.

In some cases, those cubes are not pure enough. For instance, Indonesia regularly refuses containers of waste and send them back to the U.S. or Europe.

 

Greyparrot wants to help with the last step of the sorting process. The product can be used to assess the purity of a conveyor belt to see if it’s good enough. It can also identify problematic objects and give coordinates to a sorting robot so that it can automatically pick up impurities.

The startup has been testing its solution in facilities in the U.K. and South Korea. It has raised $ 1.2 million so far.

In the future, Greyparrot also has other ideas of use cases. For instance, you could imagine embedding Greyparrot’s technology in a smart bin to automatically sort waste from the very beginning. You could also use Greyparrot in reverse vending machines and credit your account when you return plastic bottles.


TechCrunch

Arch Rao, the former head of product at Tesla who was behind the company’s Powerwall home energy storage is system, is back with a new company pitching energy management and efficiency for homes.

SpanIO is looking to upgrade the electrical fusebox for homes with a digital system that integrates into the existing circuit breaker technology that has been the basis for home energy management for at least a century. 

Rao and his team are looking to make integrating renewable power, energy storage, and electric vehicles easier for homeowners by redesigning the electrical panel for modern energy needs.

“We packaged the metering controls and compute between the bus bar and the breaker,” says Rao. “Energy flows through the panel through a breaker bar and the breaker bar has tabs that you slot your breakers into… that tab is usually a conductor. We have designed a digital sub-assembly that packages current metering, voltage measurement and ability to turn each circuit on or off.”

The technology is meant to be sold through channels like solar energy installers or battery installers. The company already has plans to integrate its power management devices with energy storage systems like the ones available from LG .

Initially, Span expects to be selling its products in states like California and Hawaii where demand for solar installations is strong and homeowners have significant benefits available to them for installing renewable energy and energy efficiency systems.

For homeowners, the new power management system means that they have control over which parts of the home would be powered in the event of an outage. The company’s technology connects the entire home to a renewable system. Using existing technologies, installers have to set up a separate breaker and rewire certain areas of the home to receive the power generated by a renewable energy system, Rao says.

That control is handled through a consumer app available to download on mobile devices.

SpanIO is backed by a slew of early investors including Wireframe Ventures, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Ulu Ventures, Hardware Club, Energy Foundry, Congruent Ventures and 1/0 Capital, and intends to raise fresh cash for before the end of the year. Rao said the round would be “in the low double digits” of millions.


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