media release

Oscar the trash-sorting robot reduces waste at SFU's Surrey Campus

July 23, 2019

Jao Dantes, SFU Sustainability Office, 778.788.9826,
Sarah Lachance, University Communications, 778.782.3210,

Video Media Kit:

The artificial intelligence robot “Oscar” will make recycling easier at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey Campus, starting today. A signature product of Intuitive AI, a startup founded by two SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering students (one now an alumnus), Oscar uses a display screen and powerful AI camera to identify recycling from trash and instruct users which bin to use when disposing of their waste.

As part of SFU Sustainability’s award-winning Zero Waste Initiative, Oscar aims to improve the SFU community’s understanding of and interactions with the institution’s four-stream waste stations. By installing Oscar, SFU Surrey is poised to reduce its waste contamination rate from 60 to 20 per cent. In 2018, the Zero Waste Initiative helped divert 57.64 per cent of SFU’s annual waste, and is used as a model case study for other institutions and municipalities.

With a vision to create a zero-waste world, Intuitive AI is an internationally-established artificial intelligence and technology startup with waste-sorting robots in Vancouver (YVR), Toronto, San Francisco and Calgary. Co-founders Vivek Vyas, a student in SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering and Hassan Murad, who graduated from the same department in 2016 say that installing Oscar at their alma mater is a milestone in their journeys.

“I studied mechatronics at the Surrey campus, so it feels like we’re back home,” says Murad, who last fall was featured by Forbes Magazine as one of five entrepreneurs on the rise in AI. “We’re excited to place Oscar here and give back to our community.”

Installing Oscar supports the university’s commitment to the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) calls to action. Through the ISCN network of nearly 100 post-secondary institutions, SFU is working with other leading institutions to exchange information, ideas and best practices to promote sustainability initiatives across campus. Oscar is just one of the many projects currently being used to improve sustainability at SFU.

“This really is about building awareness and educating users on waste and the waste management problem,” says Kayla Blok, SFU’s campus sustainability manager. “This is about having an impact on our communities and trying to improve diversion rates across the lower mainland and across the region.”





As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

<p><a href="/content/sfu/sfunews/comment_guidelines.html?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true&amp;height=700&amp;width=700" class="thickbox">Comment Guidelines</a><br>