Skip to main content

Oscar the trash-sorting robot reduces waste at SFU’s Surrey Campus

This week, artificial intelligence robot “Oscar” will make recycling easier at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus. A signature product of Intuitive AI, a startup founded by two SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering students (one now an alumnus), Oscar uses a display screen and powerful AI camera to identify recycling from trash and instruct users which bin to use when disposing of their waste.

As part of SFU Sustainability’s “Zero Waste Initiative”, Oscar aims to improve the community’s understanding of and interactions with four-stream waste stations. By installing Oscar, SFU Surrey is poised to reduce its waste contamination rate from 60 to 20 per cent. In 2018, the Zero Waste Initiative helped divert 57.64 per cent of SFU’s annual waste.

With a vision to create a zero-waste world, Intuitive AI is an artificial intelligence and technology startup with waste-sorting robots in Vancouver (YVR), Toronto, San Francisco and Calgary. Co-founders Vivek Vyas, a student in SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Hassan Murad, who graduated from the same department in 2016 say that installing Oscar at their alma mater is a milestone in their journeys.

“I studied mechatronics at the Surrey campus, so it feels like we’re back home,” says Murad, who last fall was featured by Forbes Magazine as one of five entrepreneurs on the rise in AI. “We’re excited to place Oscar here and give back to our community.”

“This really is about building awareness and educating users on waste and the waste management problem,” says Kayla Blok, SFU’s campus sustainability manager. “This is about having an impact on our communities and trying to improve diversion rates across the lower mainland and across the region.”  


  • Press Release from SFU Surrey