Chicago’s Plan to Clean Up Its River? Video Game-Style Battle Rafts.

The 'Trash Robot' is your town cleanup meets Call of Duty

March 16, 2018 9:00 am

Last week, local organization Friends of the Chicago River held its annual Chicago River Summit, bringing together more than 100 clean-water advocates across the country to chat about finding ways to remove garbage from waterways.

As fruitful as that roundtable was, we may have just found the most creative solution to aquatic garbage yet.

Local nonprofit Urban Rivers has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a floating, trash-cleaning robot that anyone can remotely control over the Internet. Essentially, it’s a remote control boat which is “capable of herding trash to a safe location, where it could then be removed.”

Novel? Yes. A fun way to gamify environmentalism? You bet.

Urban Rivers — which is responsible for the floating wetlands you may have seen on the riverbanks — has named the experience the “Trashbot Game.” It’s simple: if funded, the nonprofit will open up the controls to players who can control the bot and collect trash, all in real-time.

Head on over to Kickstarter for more details.

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