Over the last few months there have been a lot of new bins appearing over Oxford. Normally this isn't newsworthy at all, however these bins have solar panels on their roofs. The big question is 'what on earth do these bins needs power for?' and after a little bit of investigation they are actually very clever.
From what I can tell they are Wall-e's Great-Great-Granddad - the solar panels power a rubbish compactor. While they don't have eyes, caterpillar tracks and can go and clean up the city on their own, the principle seems very similar. Every so often the device whirs and beeps and compacts the rubbish stored within it.
It actually makes a lot of sense to use them in busy areas; the bins are able to store a lot more rubbish when it is compacted down, and because they are able to store more the council doesn't have to empty them as often. It's a win-win for them. Also because the rubbish is in a contained box it prevents rodents and other small animals setting up shop there, or distributing the rubbish back around the street or park.
Further Googling revealed some more of it's features - they have a gauge inside of them so they know how full they are. At 85% capacity they automatically notify the local council to tell them they need to be emptied. They are really smart.
I love that a company has been inspired by Wall-e, and I love that Oxford Council is investing in smart technology like this.