Gaming tech maker Razer redesigns ocean cleaning Clearbot

If you follow sustainability news, there's a good chance you've read about Clearbot. It's a small, solar-powered robot that collects trash from water. The self-navigating bot uses AI to detect, remove and analyze debris, allowing it to distinguish between jellyfish and plastic bags.

Clearbot's design has gone through a number of iterations since students at the University of Hong Kong started working on the project in 2019. But to actually make a dent in marine pollution, the start-up needs to scale up. Which is where Razer comes in. As a developer of gaming hardware, the Singaporean-American tech company knows how to design for mass production.

As part of a sustainability initiative, Razer's internal design and engineering teams worked with Clearbot to create a more efficient and scaleable version of the aquatic trash gulper. The new design — which is much sleeker, but not as cute — was unveiled earlier this week, on World Oceans Day. In one collection cycle, the bot can now retrieve up to 250 kg of plastic.

There's no doubt about the need for innovations like Clearbot (and check out Manta, too) — a 2016 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation predicted that by 2050, plastic could outweigh fish in oceans.

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Razer's work for Clearbot demonstrates the power of partnerships. When it comes to doing good, why not use your in-house expertise to support existing concepts instead of coming up with your own? It could help with recruitment, too — among US survey respondents aged 25 to 34, 80% say they want to work for 'engaged companies' (New Paradigm Strategy Group & Fortune 2019).

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