top of page

SMARC: Tools, Components, Methods, and Techniques

As part of the CPS project for Semester two we are building an E-waste recycling service, or the Smart Autonomous Recycling Cradle (SMARC). SMARC is a cyber-physical system designed to introduce a systems-thinking approach to e-waste recycling. Specifically, the SMARC system has been designed to intervene at the point of e-waste collection, to in-turn support the downstream challenges in processing and recycling e-waste.

Cybernetic Methods

SMARC is designed to be a closed loop system that incorporates the feedback of item disposal and usage into the recycling system. This is the difference between SMARC and existing e-waste solutions. They do not consider the end processing of the waste as part of their system. The boundary of their solution ends when they transfer the waste to their processor. If this waste is then shipped overseas and processed illegally, they express concern but do not accept responsibility.

SMARC is a Cybernetic system in that it controls the whole lifecycle of the waste, through using API's to enhance the collection of the waste. A manufacturer API allows device manufacturers to register their device. This will then trigger a training cycle for the M/L model in order to recognise the new device. A collection API allows downstream partners to understand what waste is available for collection. This will avoid them collecting waste they cannot process which today ends up in landfill or sold overseas.

The system design was produced using Casual loop diagrams to determine the flow of events and information.

The flow is as follows:

  • a customer deposits and item in the SMARC when it is end-of-life.

  • The manufacturer updates SMARC when a new device is being released.

  • The recycler interrogates the SMARC network when they want to find out what is available for collection

  • the recycler triggers a collection of the SMARC unit

  • the collection partner collects the unit from the customer.

API Definitions

Manufacturer API

This API allows manufacturers to register new devices for incorporation into SMARC

Collection API

Check E-Waste in the SMARC network. Provide the total mass of e-waste in the network of SMARC units, with ability to scrutinise down to specific units/groups of units AND ability to scrutinise other data points such as mass of gold or total number of Apple products.

Recreating SMARC: Tool Overview

For those that want to re-create SMARC we used:


  • Queen Plastic Wheelie Bin Pink 60L: To collect the e-waste we need a sturdy container that big enough for mobile phones and all other small electronic waste in future and yet small enough that can be moved around (mobile).

  • Bubble Wrap: To wrap and protect the mobile phones from bumping onto each other when they are being dropped-off (reduce the further scratch or damage)

  • Drawer Lock and Key Set: To secure the SMARC before collection time so other people cannot take the valuable electronic waste or cause any damage.

  • Loosefill Packing Peanuts: To provide a soft landing for the mobile phones when they’re being dropped-off into SMARC

  • Recycled wood/timber and cardboard box: To create the frame to protect and support the Raspberry Pi, the Pi Camera, the touch screen, and the drop-off slot on the lid, we recycled used timber wood and cardboard box for eco-friendly materials

  • Magnetic strip: To create the frame to protect and support the Raspberry Pi, the Pi Camera, the touch screen, and the drop-off slot on the lid, we recycled used timber wood and cardboard box for eco-friendly materialsMagnetic strips are used to connect/attach the tray and the touch screen frame, to close the tray when SMARC is not being used.


  • Raspberry PI 3+: This mini but powerful computer (the size of a credit card) has a 1.4Ghz Quad-Core Processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB and much more, and it’s incredibly cost-effective that has enough oomph to run a range of operating systems, play high definition video, and compatible with many programming language and other electronic components.

  • Raspberry Pi Camera V1.3 and Flex Cable for Raspberry Pi Camera – 1 metre: This is the plug-and-play-compatible with Raspberry Pi 3B+ and has the latest version of the Raspbian operating system. The board itself is tiny and light-weight, making it perfect to attach on SMARC for mobile phone recognition.

  • Raspberry Pi Touch Screen 7-inch monitor: This mini screen (7 inch HDMI monitor) is specially design for Raspberry Pi that can easily be mounted on the back of the monitor. It makes this monitor a simple on-the-go setup for SMARC.

  • Micro Servo SG92R: This tiny little servo can rotate approximately 180 degrees (90 in each direction) and is good to make stuff move without building a motor controller and will fit in small places

  • Ultrasonic Sensor HC-SR04: This ultrasonic sensor uses Trigger and Echo pin to send a signal and listen for it to be ‘bounced back’, the same principle as bats (Echo location) and perfect option for detecting mobile phone drop-off on top of SMARC’s lid.

  • Arduino Uno R3: This board is a generic variant (cheaper), built from the open source Arduino® Uno R3 design. It has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analogue inputs, a DC Power Jack, etc and perfect to use with ultrasonic sensor and micro servo to control the SMARC lid.

  • 9v Battery and holder:

  • Power Bank: This generic version of 9V battery has the same specifications as the expensive brands on TV, has enough voltage to power the Arduino, micro servo and ultrasonic sensor.

  • LED lights and LED strips: The LED light inside the SMARC has the sensor to light up when we open SMARC for collection so we can see inside the SMARC if it’s dark and the LED strips will light up when we want to use it. It has an automatic sensor that can be turned ON/OFF as well.

  • Coral USB Accelerator: To run TensorFlow Lite for Machine Learning model that we trained using Teachable Machine

  • Assorted Jumper Wires (M/M-F/F-M/F): We use assorted jumper wires to connect all the electronic components to power and to each other.

As part of the build we used the following tools:

Software tools

Others explored Django Framework, FLASK, and React

Hardware tools

  • Various Ryobi saws

  • Drills and Drill bits


We worked collaboratively across 3 different cities/states over various mediums (software/program) such as:

  • Office 365 Microsoft Teams for our main communication

  • Google Docs for our planning schedule and to write our notes and Google Drive to store all the files/photos/video.

  • Miro board to build the user persona, storyboard, timeline, brainstorming ideas, initial design of the prototype, user flow map, etc.

  • Gantter for system life cycle planning.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page