Introducing the world's first reverse vending machine for batteries!

We are pleased to announce that Coop Norway and Energizer have launched the world’s first battery reverse vending machine in Oslo, Norway. The event was held on Earth day, April 22nd, at one of Coop's stores.

The machine is developed by Refind Technologies and allows customers to return all types of household batteries in a similar way as a reverse vending machine for bottles. The customers will receive a discount of one Norwegian krone per battery in the form of a discount coupon that can be used when buying new batteries. We hope that this initiative will have a positive impact on battery recycling by increasing awareness and providing incentives for people to recycle household batteries.

 

 

This has been an incredible and unique opportunity for us at Refind; to develop the world's first reverse vending machine for batteries and our first consumer-focused machine/application. The main goal was to design a machine that is user-friendly and easy to understand for anyone who comes by with a battery to recycle. We know everything about recognizing and handling batteries, so the main challenge was to make it cost efficient, user friendly and precise. We therefore, focused a lot on the user experience when reading the display screen, interacting with the machine and receiving the printed coupon. 

Highlights from the launch:

Most frequently asked questions - answered!

We have compiled the most frequently asked questions we receive from you. Hopefully, they provide some more insight into our operations.

1. What kind of objects are Refind's systems capable of identifying?

We have been asked to identify all kinds of objects: both crazy and normal stuff. Body parts in trash, coconut grading as the unexpected objects and used electronics and defects in furniture as more on the normal side. Important questions in return that we ask the customers are WHY (why automated and not manual) and HOW (how do you tell it apart), and then we weigh that against what different sensors would be able to perform.

2. What kind of sensors do you utilize?

We use all kinds of sensors and combine them on our technical software platform; the neural networks can use different sensors as data input sources. However, to have everything takes time and usually costs more than it is worth. Also, a limitation of sensors usually increases the processing speed. The most important sensor for our current applications is an RGB camera for taking images.  We also use laser sensors for identification of sizes or location detection.

3. How do you select the right kind of sensors for each system?

The sensors are selected based on the material to be sorted. We can use material specific sensors (like NIR, X-ray, LIBS or something else that can only tell what material it is). This makes sense when you are dealing with objects with homogeneous material. There are many companies already doing this.

3.1 Following up on that, how does Refind differ from other companies?

We focus on objects with complex material structures, like whole products, used electronics, where a material sensor does not make sense. You need to understand what model something is for it to be useful information for the customer. Then a camera is the best thing.

4. What kind of camera do you utilize?

So far, we are doing fine with our RGB camera, but it is similar to a one-eyed person that cannot tell depth. By adding a 3D camera, we have basically added another eye, allowing for depth check, which makes a big difference for recognizing items in a co-mingling environment.

5. How does your classification system work?

A computer program is fed with images of known identity for example "this is a picture of a computer", it then learns what to look for in these images in order to correctly classify them. Once the system is trained, the learning process stops and it is used for real-time classification of the objects that are being sorted by our machines.

6. How accurate are the classifications?

It depends on how many images the system has got access to for training itself for the task. More images give better accuracy. The battery sorters produce fractions of 97 - 99% purity.

7. How many different kind of objects can you recognize? AND How many images do you need per object to be recognized?

The system can recognize as many objects as have example images of. The number of images needed is different depending on the objects and kinds of images we get, from 30 and up to several thousands depending on the object.

Do you have a question for us? Don't hesitate to email us at info@refind.se or give us a call at 073-310 03 62.

 

Fish tech talk in London

We are proud to announce that we have been invited to speak about our recognition technology at the 10th International Illegal Unreportered and Unregulated Fishing Forum at the Chatham House in London on March 16-17. 

Our machine learning expert Rasmus will present possibilities and opportunities within fish identification and learn more about the subject from the knowledgeable list of other speakers as well as from the audience.

Refind as a showcase at Vinnova!

On January 31st, Refind was invited to Vinnova to talk about how to write a successful application for the Eurostars research program. Our CEO, Johanna Reimers, presented Refind and the SOMEWAIR project and how the application was done. This application was created together with DTI, Danish Technology Institute, with whom we are working closely with in the research project.

The application obviously went fine, the presentation was also OK and how is the project in itself going, you may wonder? Well, it is going very well. We are now developing our first movie recording scanning program, allowing multiple items to be added to the database simultaneously and continuously. This will also allow the classification of several items in parallel.

The Vinnova presentation is all in Swedish, enjoy!

If you are interested in more information about the Eurostars program, read here!

Meet and listen to us in Salzburg 17-20 January 2017!

As usual, Refind will exhibit at the International Electronics Recycling Congress in Salzburg on January 17-20! New for this year is that our CEO Johanna Reimers will be speaking about our sorting technology in one of the seminars - the "Sorting technology" session on Thursday January 19th in the afternoon. Don't miss the speech called "Is More Technology Really the Solution to the Challenges within Circular Economy?".

Check out the entire program here.

Also new for this year is that we will bring our latest machine - a small desktop sorting unit including a robotic pick arm. As of now it can sort phones and fish - come and have a look at it in our booth!

Refind sells two OBS600 machines to Raw Materials Company in Canada

We are happy to announce the sale of two OBS600 battery sorting machines to our new Canadian customer - Raw Materials Company! The first machine is to be delivered in May to their sorting facility close to Niagara Falls.

Raw Materials Company has more than 30 years of experience of collecting and recycling batteries. Their main market is the province of Ontario and they are one of the largest recyclers of batteries in Canada with increasing collection volumes every year.

For Refind, it is a strategic step to add yet another country to the list of installed base.

We won the Google Impact Challenge Australia 2016!

We are happy and proud to announce that the FISH FACE project won the People's Choice Award in the Google Impact Challenge Australia 2016! Since another project, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, got as many votes as FISH FACE, Google decided to award both projects the extra 500 000 AUD funding.

More info about the project on our Research page or on The Nature Conservancy page.

Vote for Fish Face - finalist in the Google Impact Challenge!

We are very excited to announce that our Fish Face project is one of 10 finalists in the Google Impact Challenge: Australia! With your vote the project can become one of the winners and receive an additional 500 000 AUD to develop our technology further!

A world without fish is a world without food for half of the world's population. By collecting more data about fish species, age and behaviour in an automated way, we will know more about fish populations and enable a more sustainable fishing. The world needs it - we need it!

The Fish Face project is mainly run by The Nature Conservancy, a world wide environmental organisation, who has access to the fisheries and the expertise knowledge about the fish. The other two project members are we at Refind - proud providers of recognition technology and app development for the automated data collection - and Seth Heine, an entrepreneurial leader with sustainability as the main interest.

Voting is now underway to choose an overall winner to receive extra prize money from Google to further develop FishFace. If you’d like to support a move to sustainable fisheries around the world and keep fish in the sea, vote for FishFace now and help it win. Voting ends at midnight (ADST) October 25, 2016.

We’re also really encouraged that the Australian Government’s Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has agreed to share its data to help build the machine learning engine that will be the power behind FishFace.

Recycling International writes about the CEO of Refind

As a part of their recurring theme 'Women in Recycling', Recycling International has now discovered our woman at Refind - Johanna Reimers. Read the interview here, and look at their website for all other news within the recycling business!

RI AUG issue Interview.jpg

New generation battery sorter, OBS200, goes to Slovakia!

We are happy to announce our latest sale - of a new product to a new customer - an OBS200 that goes to Elektro Recycling in Slovakia! The OBS200 will be a smaller version of the OBS600, capable of sorting 200 kg/hour, with a smaller footprint and price tag, but just as high sorting quality! 

Meet the desktop grader!

Desktop_grader

Our latest product family member is born - the desktop grader! It is a smaller and more flexible version of the e-grader equipment, narrowed down to a smartphone and a light tunnel which enables instant identification through a mobile app.

As a customer, you install the desktop grader and help building up the image database for your needs. Once the classifier is ready for use, you pay a license fee based on number of classifications. The desktop grader can also be turned into a sorting equipment similar to the e-grader, by adding conveyor belts and separation actuators.

Read more in this product sheet, have a look at the video below:

 

FISH FACE - Refind software enables sustainable fishing

 

We are happy to announce that Refind are involved in a large fishing data collection project, Fish Face, together with The Nature Conservancy. The software from Refind will be used to identify fish species.

Without proper data, fish can't be sustainable managed. But a new technology could change all of that.

Fish stocks around the world are declining—with an estimated 90 percent of the world’s fisheries over or fully exploited. In developing countries, like Indonesia, the decline of a fishery can have severe consequences—as nearly 40 percent of the Indonesian population lives just above the poverty line, fishing is a way of life and provides an important food source for millions of people.

A key challenge in addressing overfishing is the lack of data on just how many fish still exist. Especially in complex multi-species fisheries, like the ones in Indonesia and in many other tropical developing countries, data just doesn’t exist on all types and sizes of individual fish, making sound management almost impossible. In fact, some 90% of fisheries globally are lacking in stock assessment data. Traditional stock assessment methods are prohibitively expensive, and in the majority of fisheries in the developing world, the condition of stocks is not known.

Facial recognition for fish

The Nature Conservancy’s Indonesia Fisheries program is working with Refind Technologies to identify fish. The project is called Fishface and the ultimate goal is to build this technology into a smartphone app that could be used on fishing boats throughout the region and eventually be deployed around the globe. Through the use of affordable image recognition software that will detect species from photos, much faster and more accurate sorting of fish will be possible at the processing plant, or even as it is landed on the boat.

Ultimately, the pilot of the Fishface technology will offer a low-cost assessment of fish stocks—providing the essential data needed to assess and manage fisheries that are struggling around the world.

The framework envisioned will be applied across these types of fisheries in a multitude of geographies, with the potential to impact the some 260 million people who depend on fish for income and food.

Read this and more here on the The Nature Conservancy website.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. They are present in over 35 countries around the world. 

Meet us at the IERC in Salzburg 19-22 January 2016

For the second time, Refind will be exhibiting at the IERC, International Electronics Recycling Congress. As usual it will be held in Salzburg, Austria, and will bring together over 500 producers, recyclers, refurbishers and organizations from all over the world. Refind will present the latest news from the recognition technology side.

Contact us if you want to book a seat at our speed dating table - 15 minutes - we are happy to host you! Johanna Reimers & Farshid Jafari Harandi

Refind exhibits at Ekocentrum - innovations for a good life

Together with 19 other companies, Refind participates in the Ekocentrum exhibition with the unique identification technology as one of the innovations for a better and more sustainable life. The exhibition kicked off on December 1st and will continue throughout 2016.

Come and have a look at the interesting innovations from the western region of Sweden, or read more about it here: http://www.ekocentrum.se/utstallning/page/2/.


Refind gets EU support for sorting phones!

We are happy and proud to announce our participation in the Horizon2020 Research and Innovation programme in a project called SustainablySMART. The project handles sustainable smart mobile devices lifecycles through re-design, reliability, reuse and remanufacturing technologies and comprises a consortium of 17 different companies from all over Europe.

 

Refind’s role in the project

Our part will be to provide and improve the feeding, identification and sorting of cellphones in order to optimize the disassembly of components or preparation for reuse depending on the model or condition of the cell phone. We will provide the technology to determine brand and model of each phone, information that can be used for registration and setup instructions for the down-stream process. We will work closely with ProAutomation, an Austrian company specializing in automatic disassembly of cellphones.

 

More about the SustainablySMART project

Project length: 48 months, starting in September 2015 and ending in 2019.

Project budget: 7 Million EUR total for the consortium

Project partners: Fairphone b.v., Fraunhofer IZM, Multimedia Computer System Ltd., Pro Automation GmbH, iFixit GmbH, ReUse-Computer e.V., Technische Universität Wien, Semicon Sp. z.o.o., Grant4Com, RFND TECHNOLOGIES AB, AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG, Speech Processing Solutions GmbH, PrimeTel PLC, Österreiche Gesellschaft für System- und Automatisierungstechnik and Blancco Oy Ltd.