TITLE: Never be annoyed when emptying an over-full trash can again, with this new “screaming trash can” technology!
In shared-living or office situations, there is a strong incentive to wait for someone else to empty a full garbage can: the person who discards the last piece of trash has only contributed a tiny fraction of the total can’s volume, but has to expend the trash-removal effort for the entire can.
Thus, people tend to creatively stack trash as high as possible (Figure 1), forming a “Jenga“-like tower of precariously-balanced trash.
Even worse, once trash is piled up in a tower, it can be difficult to fit it all into the trash bag (which makes it even less likely that someone will want to take it out).
The solution is simple: install a grid of “electric eyes” (the laser grids from every heist movie) that would monitor the top level of the trash can (Figure 2).
If the electric-eye beam is blocked for more than a few seconds, the trash can would know that the trash can needed to be emptied, and can take action accordingly.
One could “gamify” the process (and help promote a dystopian 1984-esque future) with a trash can that would 1) have a camera to identify each user and 2) a weight sensor to keep track of the total amount of trash generated and emptied by that person. Perhaps stat tracking would encourage trash-can-emptying. Whether or not it actually helps, the manufacturer of such a trash can could always sell the face recognition data to advertisers and each country’s secret police, so it’s a win-win situation.
PROS: This would be a popular product for many homes and offices.
CONS: Creative individuals might be able to place trash in creative ways such that it does not obstruct the beams, but is still precariously stacked.