GyroCatcher gives e-waste a new life

Innovative device created by UAntwerp scientists is on display at the World Expo in Dubai

Researchers from IDLab, an imec research group at UAntwerp, want to raise awareness about electronic waste (e-waste). The ‘GyroCatcher' scans objects and immediately tells you which new products they can be processed into. The researchers draw attention to the precious raw materials in electronic devices. The GyroCatcher is being displayed on the roof of the Belgian pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Never before has recycling e-waste been so important. Many electronic devices that we use every day contain metals that are becoming increasingly rare. They are scarce and cost a lot of money. Think of smartphones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and so on. To address this issue, the IDLab research group, affiliated with imec and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Antwerp, created a device called the GyroCatcher.

Precious metals

‘The GyroCatcher is a device that recognises everyday objects such as bottles, keys, mobile phones, headphones and tablets, and shows which objects they can be recycled into’, says Christiaan Leysen (UAntwerp/imec). ‘The device scans the object presented and then says whether it contains gold, silver or other rare metals. We want to make people aware of the various raw materials used in electronic devices.’

The precious metals can be recycled if the object in question is not simply thrown away. Leysen: ‘Unfortunately, the latter still happens far too often. With the GyroCatcher we hope to convey a clear message in a very accessible way. Only if everyone does their bit can we dream of a more sustainable future.’

Alongside the Gyratom

The researchers cannot complain about the visibility of their device. The GyroCatcher received a nice spot on the roof terrace of the Belgian pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. Until the end of March 2022, the scanner will stand next to the Gyratom, a work of art by Alessandro Tardioli. Using recycled panels from the Atomium, he made a futuristic helicopter, inspired by the famous Gyronef from Suske & Wiske.