Sensor technologies

Recycleye secures funding for MRF sensor technologies

Sensor detects different types of items in waste streams

With the funding, Recycleye says it hopes to implement its Vision sensor in materials recycling (MRF) facilities to benefit an industry that currently “lacks accountability and traceability.”

Peter Hedley, CTO of the company, said: “The human eye sees only visible light, but the power of our brain makes it the best sensor in the world. Unlike a machine, we don’t need to read a barcode or RFID to know the brand of an item, nor laser spectroscopy or x-ray vision to know the material of an item. At Recycleye, we are developing AI that replicates this unique human ability. “


Recycleye Founder and CEO Victor Dewulf said today (August 5), the company is currently testing the sensor with two large waste management companies, including one in the UK.

Mr Dewulf said: “The technology is currently being tested at sites in the UK and France and its performance is being validated for automated quality assessments, downstream quality control certification and quality identification. food / non-food in PP.

“We also plan to make Level 2 deployments of the technology towards the end of the year ahead of larger scale deployments in 2021.”


The technology was developed by students at Imperial College London, who used Al-powered cameras to identify recyclable items and their composition, allowing them to be automatically sorted at waste facilities by material, brand and object.

The sensor was developed to allow waste pickers, traders and facility managers to understand contamination levels and assign an exact value to each tonne of recycled plastic. Brand-level detection will also extend producers’ liability for their product waste, Recycleye says.


The company says that by using low-cost robotics, their stand-alone sorting solution will be cheaper than current alternatives.

Right now, the cost of sorting materials in factories could be high, according to Recycleye, as the industry uses several large and expensive sensors that may be missing some items. Using computer vision means Recycleye can use a single sensor for the entire waste treatment plant, making it more profitable, the company says.

Mr Dewulf said: “Our motto is that waste does not exist, it is just material in the wrong place. This project will accelerate the world’s transition to a circular economy and enable the merging of kidnapping chains into supply chains.

Innovate in the UK

Innovate UK is part of the UK government’s national research and innovation funding agency that invests in science and research in the UK. Operating across the UK with a combined budget of over £ 6bn, UKRI brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

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