rStream to pilot AI-driven recycling technology with UMass Dining Services

October 12, 2023

Deanne Toto,, October 2, 2023

A robotics company focused on waste management and recycling is rolling out a pilot program with UMass Dining Services to test the ability of its artificial intelligence (AI) to identify in real-time the material in the waste stream.

Ian Goodine and Ethan Walko, rStream founders, will present their technology, dubbed AuditPRO, Oct. 17 during an invite-only session at 4:30 in the UPub. However, members of the press and the community can join a demonstration at 5:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Campus Center.

Goodine and Walko began investigating solutions for waste in 2020 during their mechanical engineering senior design project at UMass Amherst. During their master’s studies, they formally co-founded rStream, further developed the idea through the I-Corps @ UMass program of the Institute of Applied Life Sciences, which helps students and others on campus turn their technological discoveries into real-world products and services, and sought out grant funding from the National Science Foundation to support their continued R&D.

“The big problem in recycling is people just don’t put stuff in the right bin,” Goodine says. This often leads to capture rates of only 30 percent and contamination in recycling bins.

The computer vision and robotic innovations in rStream’s technology will take the guesswork away from consumers, according to a news release from UMass Amherst.

“The world rStream wants to make is one where consumers put everything in a single bin and automation does the rest,” Goodine says. “Instead of 30 percent, this technology could ensure 90 to 100 percent of recyclables are being picked up by waste haulers and made into new products.”

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