Artificial intelligence robot reduces waste contamination at SFU

July 23, 2019

Confused about which recycling bin to toss your coffee cup into? At SFU’s Surrey campus, an artificial intelligence (AI) robot named Oscar will steer you in the right direction.

Oscar, developed and invented by an SFU student and an SFU alumnus, uses an AI-powered display and vision system to distinguish recycling from trash, offering visual cues to help users sort their waste items.

The SFU Sustainability Office expects the robot to reduce the Surrey campus’s waste contamination rate from 70 per cent to 20 per cent, and play an important role in SFU’s award-winning Zero-Waste initiative.

The robot’s inventors – Vivek Vyas, a student in SFU’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, and Hassan Murad, who graduated from same department in 2016 – developed and commercialized Oscar after co-founding technology start-up Intuitive AI.

In 2017 they entered Next Canada’s NextAI accelerator program and won the program’s Most Outstanding Venture Award. Intuitive AI has now moved into SFU’s VentureLabs in Vancouver, where its team of engineers and designers are working to realize their vision of empowering a zero-waste world.

While SFU is the first university to install Oscar, Intuitive AI has already successfully deployed its robot across Canada and North America, including at the Vancouver International Airport.

Oscar, developed and invented by SFU student Vivek Vyas, right, and SFU alumnus Hassan Murad, uses an AI-powered display and vision system to distinguish recycling from trash and offers visual cues to help users sort waste items. The robot has been installed at SFU's Surrey campus.

“As an alum of the SFU Surrey campus, it feels great to be back at home,” says Murad. “We’re excited to place Oscar here and give back to our community.”

Kayla Blok, SFU’s campus sustainability manager says, “SFU strives to be at the forefront of social innovation and sustainability. We started our Zero Waste Initiative in 2012. Oscar’s AI technology is a stepping stone toward embedding the circular economy at SFU.”

Oscar is one of many innovative SFU sustainability projects and initiatives. Visit the Surrey campus mezzanine to test Oscar’s features. To learn more about sustainability at SFU or to get involved visit