At the Solidarity FabLab challenge in April 2016, the Artilect FabLab from Toulouse was rewarded for its Clean-Up project. A few months later, a prototype pollution-removing robot was presented to the press.
Toulouse Clean-Up gains momentum. After several months of work, a working prototype was presented to the press in the main hall of Toulouse-based Solidarity FabLab Artilect on Friday 27 January. When it was rewarded at the #Imake4mycity Solidarity FabLab challenge, the project was still in the design stage. As a reminder, Toulouse Clean-Up is an autonomous robot designed to remove plastic waste from the Garonne River. Throughout 2016, the young project team, partially comprised of young people in difficulty, worked on a prototype and improvements they could make to it.
An initial trial run in June 2016
An initial prototype was launched on the Garonne River last summer. This initial trial run collected a large amount of waste, and also helped the team think about ways to improve the machine: "we collected a lot of plastic, but also a lot of algae. That forced us to redesign the collector to improve it", says Audrina, who has been involved in the project from the very start. Further tests are planned for next summer, before a major event to raise awareness among young people in Toulouse in the autumn.
Generalising access to Toulouse Clean-Up
The robot, which was designed and built using recycled materials, should be able to collect up to 420 bottles and cope with up to 620 kg of pressure. In keeping with the FabLab mentality, the project team will release the plans as open source: "this project can be re-used. It can be re-used in another FabLab or by anyone interested in ecological issues." This reflects an effort to disseminate the Toulouse Clean-Up device and encourage its development and use in other towns and cities while training young people without qualifications.