An intelligent ATM machine that can swallow a whole mobile phone and cough up cash in return is set to become the newest attraction to tempt people to recycle their old goods for some new money.
The machine, developed by a Californian company, ecoATM, is claimed to be sophisticated enough to detect if the phone is damaged. People are warned not to try to fool the machine. For, apparently, it is smart enough to pick up the slightest hint of a crack on a phone’s screen.
Using artificial intelligence, ecoATM kiosks can differentiate varied consumer electronics products, and determine a market value, according to the Daily Mail.
“If the value is acceptable, users have the option of receiving cash or store credit for their trade - or donating all or part of the compensation to one of several charities,’’ it said.
Mark Bowle, co-founder of the company behind the invention, said: “The basic technologies of machine vision, artificial intelligence, and robotics that we use have existed for many years, but none have been applied to the particular problem of consumer recycling. But we’ve done much more than just apply existing technology to an old problem — we developed significant innovations for each of those basic elements to make the system commercially viable.’'
The company is hoping to roll out more than 300 kiosks across America. The company’s databases are now trained with images of more than 4,000 devices.
“When a phone is presented, the AI (artificial intelligence) system conducts a visual inspection, identifies the device model and provides one of 23 possible connector cables to link it to the network. A value is then determined based on the company’s real-time, worldwide, pre-auction system in which a broad network of buyers have already bid on the old technology, so the kiosk can immediately provide compensation, ’’ the report said.