December 15th, 2015

Microsoft teamed up with a nonprofit using autonomous 'interceptor' boats to clean up the ocean and is helping it identify trash with machine learning (MSFT)

SFcleanup4The Ocean Cleanup

Summary List Placement

Cleaning up the oceans is a huge undertaking, especially for a single nonprofit based out of the Netherlands, but having Microsoft on your side is a nice bonus.

Boyan Slat launched The Ocean Cleanup nonprofit in 2013, with the goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Since then, the project has also embraced the goal of preventing new waste from entering the ocean by cleaning up rivers the carry many of the pollutants.

In 2018, The Ocean Cleanup was a participant in Microsoft's annual hackathon, where volunteers work together on moonshots to try to come up with innovative solutions. The resulting machine learning models have helped The Ocean Cleanup track plastic and other waste, and informed how and where the nonprofit deploys its giant autonomous plastic collectors. 

Take a look at how it works. 

The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit taking on plastic pollution on two fronts: plastic already in the ocean, and plastic moving into the ocean through rivers.The Ocean Cleanup

Plastic in oceans tend to form large systems like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and break down into microplastics, which can be harmful to marine life and eventually people.The Ocean Cleanup

According to The Ocean Cleanup, going after this waste with ships and nets would be expensive, time consuming, and require massive amounts of fossil fuels.The Ocean Cleanup

Instead, the project is working with what it calls a passive system for cleanup.Ocean Cleanup

Interceptors like this one are part of the nonprofit's fleet.Ocean Cleanup

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: Microsoft sank a data center the size of a shipping container 2 years ago in a wild experiment and just brought it up to see how it went

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