‘Smart Bins’ Will Act As Wi-Fi Hot Spots To Those In Underserved Neighborhoods

These solar-powered 'Smart Bins' not only compact trash and provide Wi-Fi to nearby residents, they alert city management when they need to be emptied.

Credit: BigBelly

Credit: Bigbelly

As was recently shared in the article “Education Can Be Beamed To Poor, Rural Locations With This Device,” the ability to connect to the world wide web and receive free information is an invaluable resource that has potential to positively shape the world. With knowledge comes the ability to introduce change, which is why efforts to supply those in poor, underprivileged locations with access to information should be applauded for what they are.

It was recently shared by Popular Science that Bigbelly, a maker of smart Wi-FI enabled-trash and recycling bins, will be placing their bins in neighborhoods around the five boroughs in New York to act as free Wi-Fi hot spots. Because living in a city basically demands a citizen has access to the internet, this change will no doubt be welcomed by those in underserved locations.

NYC won’t be the first location the smart bins will be implanted, however. In their original form, the bins are already in place in other cities around the world. Not only do the solar-powered receptacles compact trash as it comes in so it has to be emptied less often, sensors detect when the bins reach capacity (or when they begin to get smelly), and then communicate with local waste management organizations to alert them that they need to be emptied.

In Manhattan, two of the smart bins were converted to act as hotspots this winter and will provide Wi-FI at 50-75 megabits per second. That’s fast enough to download an HD movie in just nine minutes – pretty neat!

Now several hundred of NYC’s smart bins will be transformed into hot spots as soon as the Mayor’s office signs off on it, which likely be this fall.

Trash cans are ingenious receptacles to use as hot spots because they are located at ground level, are in the open, and can provide a strong signal that is not blocked by obstacles. In addition, their placement on street corners throughout a neighborhood can improve their accessibility.

The best part? Thanks to display advertising, the smart bins will be able to offer Wi-Fi for free.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 


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