Project BeachBot

An AI driven robot hunting for small litter. BeachBot already detects cigarette butts and asks the help of humans to become smarter.


Project Description

BeachBot is there to raise awareness around littering. A unique concept of human-machine interaction. Humans are asked to help BB via a game app in which they can annotate and label images of litter. By interacting with BB they learn about the impact of littering and train its detection algorithm.

Littering is a worldwide problem, with enormous consequences. For this project we combine technology with human psychology to be part of the solution. Human-robot interaction is relatively unexplored terrain, but it has an enormous potential to bring new solutions for stubborn societal issues. Our BeachBot was presented during World Cleanup Day on September 19th 2020 and showed the audience and press the principles of our vision: a cleaning robot powered by human assistance via a game app. Together we can clean beaches and get more insights in litter data.

We also raised a question. Will a single robot make a difference to keep beaches clean? We think not, but do believe that the process of its development can raise awareness around littering on beaches. To take this concept to the next level we are doing two things: 1) further develop the game concept 2) improve the way we collect images of litter by creating more and smaller robots (swarm bots) that can map the beach. First validations with municipalities in The Netherlands showed that ‘data is key’ and currently a crucial missing factor to make better policies and improve processes.


Solving societal problems with new technology. TechTics experiments, validates and advises.

The project is funded by the European Commission, the Agency for Education and Culture, the part of the Creative Europe program, which provides the evolution and progress of the creative and cultural sectors.

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