Smart Pickers

by Jetsam Tech in Southsea, England, United Kingdom


raised so far



We're designing and developing a community lending library of smart litter pickers that connect to our plastics tracking app, Jetsam

by Jetsam Tech in Southsea, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We can expand our library of smart pickers to loan them out to additional community groups, as well as source better components and invest more into the robust design of the litter pickers


Plastics are everywhere, in our rivers, our oceans and in the food we eat, but if you were to ask someone to describe the problem in more specific detail - how much, what brands, what types, where and when - it would be hard to get a clear answer that everyone can understand. Everyone should have access to this information, but it's not so easy to find. 

Jetsam is a mobile app that empowers communities to catalogue plastic waste in their local environments, and start a conversation about the change that needs to happen. The idea is simple: all you need to do to get involved is to take a photo of any plastic waste that you see out and about. The location is shared with the community, to build a more complete picture of the problem we face. The picture you take is also uploaded, and will be analysed to help us start to identify trends in types, locations, brands and more!

It's one thing to take pictures of plastic, but the community wants to do much more than that. If you're out picking up litter then you wont have enough hands to catalogue the plastics and pick it up and dispose of it without a lot of hassle. The natural outcome is a focus on cleaning up the environment, but in turn losing the precious data that will help us to tackle the problem at its source.


Our solution is as simple as Jetsam itself - just put a camera on a litter picker! So we created the Smart Picker: a litter picker that has an on board camera for taking photos, that connects to the Jetsam app to transfer data. 

We discovered a fractal of complexity during the process of prototyping the smart picker, which is why we need your help to fund the remaining R&D to take the idea from duct-tape-and-optimism to something that we can put out into the community to make a real difference.


The smart picker directly solves the dilemma of having to choose between gathering data and gathering plastic. Choose both! By mounting a light weight camera at the end of the litter picker, we have avoided the picker becoming unbalanced in the same way that attaching a phone with a clamp might. The light pink finish also means you'll be picking litter in style!

But it's not always practical to remember to take your own litter picker with you when you go to a beach or park clean, so we want to put together a lending library of 20 smart pickers that can be loaned out to community groups as part of their activities. Partnering with litter picking events gives us the best opportunity to put the smart pickers into new hands that might not be aware of what we do, making the cataloguing and picking process as smooth (and hopefully fun!) as possible.



Steve Bomford, Co-Founder (Left)

Co-Founder of Company of Makers, a social enterprise based in Portsmouth that supports ex-Service  personnel, a graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and co-host of Lockdown podcast.

The moment I realised that plastic was in the food chain and that in all probability each and every one of us has plastic in our bodies, I realised something needed to be done about our relationship with plastic waste - Luckily I was introduced to Louis...

To quote marine biologist and TV presenter Monty Halls, "We can either choose to do nothing, or we can choose to do something." So let's do something, in the case of Jetsam it really is as simple as taking a photo - If everyone in the the City of Portsmouth took one photo per day, that would make a BIG difference!

Louis Capitanchik, Co-Founder (Right)

While I'm not originally from the area, I fell in love with Portsmouth when I came to the city to study a bachelors in Software Engineering. I want to do my part in making this area the best it can be, and to support the community in whatever way I can. 

I've been working in the tech industry for almost a decade, and I've seen the impact that technology can make - good and bad. So when we started Jetsam, we made sure that our core ethos was "tech for good" - something that underlines everything we do.

It's not possible for any one person or group to solve the problems we face by themselves. So that's why I think that Jetsam matters - building tools that everyone can use so that, together, we can make real change happen.


The smart pickers will play a key role in another Jetsam project - the world's first city wide plastics surveys. In partnership with Revolution Plastics, we will be engaging every part of Portsmouth to go out on specified survey days and take as many pictures of plastic as possible. This will happen a few times over the next year, so that we can map out the seasonal changes in plastic flows within the city.

As part of our city wide surveys, we aim to begin the process of crowd sourcing the identification of the pictures that the community has taken. What does that mean? We'll be connecting with Zooniverse, a data science platform with over 1 million volunteers who will be asked to describe what they see in each picture - numbers of plastic, types, positions, brands, etc. By doing this, we will start to create a data set that can be used in the Jetsam app to provide analysis and identification of plastics in real time, right in your hand!

  • What will we do with any extra funds raised past the goal?

Our initial aim is a single library of 20 smart pickers. If we raise enough money, we will be able to put together another library of smart pickers so that multiple groups can loan them out at the same time. We also want to invest more time into refining the smart picker concept and design - this is only the beginning.

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