I ran across this interesting use for Microsoft Kinect by an MIT Researcher who was featured in the latest issue of The Red Bulletin, a print sports lifestyle magazine that magically shows up on my doorstep every month. The article (I cannot link to it because I cannot find it online), which profiles urban planner Carlo Ratti, had this description of an upcoming urban hack he’s releasing in Madrid, Spain.

Spanish cities have what they call puntos limpios, collection points where you can drop off bulky waste like old sofas or a washing machine. We have converted a Microsoft Kinect sensor, which is usually used to operate a game console, to scan this waste. Then the system automatically tweets: “I’m a couch. Come get me!” This allows other city residents to see what is being thrown away, and they can save it from the dump. In this way, everyone is better off – it’s free furniture, the waste management company saves on costs, the local authorities promote cohesion in the community. The waste disposal service we are working with wants to try it in Madrid.

The Future of Our Cities, The Red Bulletin, July 2013


If you live in the US, there’s Freecycle – a Yahoo Groups community split up into local chapters that is similar. It’s usually the quickest way to clear out your garage. Go online and list something you want to give away for free and, usually within hours, someone will reply and take it off your hands. Carlo Ratti has managed to automate the listing part of it.