I was incensed to come across a beach recently which was ankle deep in plastic flotsam…literally tonnes of the stuff.
It would be hard to collect this off the coastline effectively without a small army of volunteers, so today’s invention is a robot watercraft capable of helping.
The robot would patrol the water, say 100 m off the coast. Floating items could be detected relatively easily against the otherwise uniform water surface using an onboard camera and collected between two booms forming a floating V shape.
Movement of the robot could be directed using a GPS system and it might be possible to have it learn seasonal patterns of junk density, in order to pursue this stuff before it gets on the beach.
(Ideally, I’d like to build one capable of chasing the people who pitch their crap in the ocean and firing it back at them).