My idea has been shortlisted for this year’s AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards in the BT Young Pioneer category.
My idea is for an automatic 'upcycling ideas' App. The user opens the App, takes a photograph of a product and the App then responds to the user with suggestions on how the product, or its components, could be upcycled. E.g. 'why not turn these bike tyres into sandals by following a link to these instructions...?'
The App will promote the concept 'Think Big, Act Local'. People would be connected worldwide through a shared interest in recycling, climate action and innovation via repurposing. The environment would also benefit, as the App seeks to identify and eliminate sources of waste, helping to reduce the energy and materials needed to make new things.
Anybody can use the App and those with an enquiring mind can get involved to invent new ideas. A communal database of components would be generated, which would benefit users who either need specific parts for their own upcycling projects or who want to work with others for larger group projects.
My idea was inspired by two things - a film (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) about a boy who learns how to build a windmill using bicycle parts to help save his village's failing crops; and a school computing lesson on developing original ideas to better the environment. Those sources helped me appreciate how repurposing an object to meet another use could benefit others, and planted the seed for my machine learning App 'FrankEinstein'.
Merging the names of Victor Frankenstein and Albert Einstein, the emphasis of the E in FrankEinstein is to promote the environmental benefits of the App.
How this differs from other concepts available on the market
There are other websites, e.g. 'instructables', that tell you how you can make something, but not what you can make. Other platforms, e.g. 'freecycle' promote reuse through giving goods away. This solution proactively links these two areas, building a valuable database of products that can be made from spare parts in the process
My next steps are to research machine learning and computer vision, so I can better understand how much of the service can be fully automated.
How I will use the money raised
I would use the funds to set up a machine learning suite (and possibly crowd sourcing); over time this would be the engine that auto generates the up cycling ideas. Any extra money would go towards developing the App itself.