Dr. Asma Khatoon is a Research Fellow in the department of Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Limerick. Working in the state-of-the-art Testbed at the SFI funded, CONFIRM Centre for Smart manufacturing Research, she’s developing a pilot system using advanced robotics, machine vision and artificial intelligence for the identification and sorting of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This will enable the efficient recycling of waste electronics and the re-use of battery resources.
WEEE addresses environmental and other issues caused by the growing number of discarded electronics. Electronic waste is hazardous, non-biodegradable, and accumulates in the environment, including soil, air, and water. Toxic pollutants are released into the environment and acid treatments are employed to recover precious elements from electronic components. Such practices can also expose workers to high contaminates which can cause irreversible health effects like cancers and neurological disorders. It’s also worth contemplating the impact of electronic products on global warming. Every technology ever built has a carbon footprint and contributes to global warming caused by humans. This pilot system being developed will facilitate the collection, treatment, and recycling of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) at the end of its lifecycle. It will also improve sustainable production and consumption, resource efficiency, and contributing to the circular economy.