3D Printing

Dr. Recare Has the 3D Printed Prescription for Clean Beaches

What happens when a SUV, a robot and a 3D printer get married? We get Dr. Recare, a mobile, robotic beach doctor that can be tasked with cleaning plastic trash from our coastlines. And, rather than just sending the collected plastic waste to a dump to further contaminate our environment, Dr. Recare will repurpose the plastic waste into recycling bins that can be recycled again, once they are full of more plastic waste.

dr_recare_front 3d printing clean beachesPlastic waste on our beaches and in our oceans is a growing ecological nightmare that, sadly, seems to only be getting worse. Thousands of tons of non-biodegradable plastic material finds its way into our oceans every day. The latest estimates suggest that there are currently a minimum of 165 million tons of plastic waste in our oceans. While ocean currents deposit a large portion of that waste into floating trash islands in the middle of the Pacific, most of it ends up washed back onto our beaches, often broken down into small, and virtually invisible particles that damage and pollute coastal environments.

The good Doctor is a concept vehicle designed by Mingyu Jeong, intended to be a dirty beach’s best buddy and help prevent that damage. Not only would it rake the sand, collecting plastic waste and trash as it goes, but it would also have a built-in cartridge that can be filled with bins of waste plastic. It would contain up to six of the bins at a time, apply heat to them, and convert them into 3D printing filament. A robotic arm attached to the cartridge would then 3D print new recycling bin. The larger unit’s mechanical arm would, then, place the new bin in a strategic place on the beach, to be filled with more plastic for the entire process to be repeated.

dr_recare_action 3d printing recycling beach

Dr. Recare is imagined to be completely autonomous, using a combination of optic and acoustic sensors to locate full bins and replace. While Dr. Recare is just a concept at this stage, this isn’t an especially far-fetched idea. You can check out the entire concept proposal over on the Yanko Design blog.