BinCam was a personal informatics system intended to raise awareness among young people about what they throw away and how they might decrease the amount of waste they create. A camera phone was attached to the inside of a bin lid and, using the phone’s accelerometer, lid opening and closing events could be detected. Every time BinCam sensed that the lid had opened and closed, the camera took a picture of the new contents of the bin. The objects in each image were identified and tagged using the crowd-sourcing capabilities of Amazon Mechanical Turk, and the image was uploaded to an integrated Facebook application so that users could see how much they had thrown away, what they could have recycled and so on.

The application rewarded good disposal habits, meaning that users could compete with each other and use the application like a game. We developed BinCam as a probe of food waste behaviours and habits but also as an investigation of whether integrating technologies such as BinCam with a popular social networking website would make people feel more inclined to engage with the technology as intended and on a regular basis.

For more information visit the BinCam website.

Press release: We’ve bin watching you!