Apple Inc recently unveiled Liam, a recycling bot that has been in the making for three years now. The company said that the robot, which is one of its most secret projects, is something that no one has ever been seen before.
Liam was revealed Monday. According to reports, only a handful of people within the company had known about its existence.
The machine is located in a warehouse near the company’s headquarters. It has 29 robotic arms, each arm is specialized in a specific task when disassembling an iPhone. So far, the machine is only instructed to recycle iPhone 6.
Apparently, Apple wants to take the recycling drill one step further, and tear apart the devices piece by piece rather than simply shred them.
So, whenever a ruined iPhone 6S will be returned to Apple, the devices will be shipped to two undisclosed location where human workers will inspect them for salvageable parts. If there’s something that can be later reused for a new device, the handsets will be shipped to Liam.
Liam is another attempt to make the company greener. Apple is increasingly concerned over the waste the consumer electronics industry leaves behind. A few years ago, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook angrily replied to shareholders that criticized the tech giant’s renewable energy programs:
“If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”
Liam will carefully remove each component of iPhones including batteries, displays, cameras that can be later used to manufacture new handsets. Apple engineers explained that Liam can tell the difference between glass and metal and does not mix them together.
See Liam at work here:
Each iPhone is made of valuable materials such as tungsten, cobalt, aluminum that can be resold and converted into other electronics rather than being discarded in a landfill. Electronics need decades if not centuries to decompose. Plus, they release toxic leaks into the environment.
Every year, tech devices are responsible for up to 50 million metric tons of e-waste worldwide. In the U.S., although electronics account for only 2 percent of waste, they are the source of 70 percent of the country’s toxic waste.
So, Liam may be a first step to fix the issue. Still, the bot has some limitations since it can tear apart only one model at a time, and only devices manufactured by Apple. But the company hopes that its rivals will soon follow suit and build similar robots for their products.
Image Source: Pixabay