Your Garbage Just Got High-Tech
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
This wastebasket sucks. Literally.
By Simon Cohen
Kitchens are everyone’s favorite place to hang out. Why? Food. Which also makes it the dirtiest room in the house. All those crumbs have to go somewhere, right? You could ignore them and hope that someone else will do the whole sweep-into-the-dustpan-dump-into-the-trash routine, but eventually your time will come. Or, you could just buy yourself a smart garbage can.
Because, yes, even our trash is getting smarter. Bruno is being hailed as the world’s first “smartcan” by its Tulsa, Oklahoma-based inventors, Jim Howard and Lori Montag, who have been working on the garbage can for the last year. Here’s how it works: Instead of grabbing a dustpan to move dirt from the floor to the garbage, sweep your debris to the bottom of the Bruno and a proximity sensor triggers the built-in rechargeable vacuum. Voilà! Bye-bye, dirt. “Bruno knows when you’re sweeping towards it,” Howard says, and the vacuum will keep running as long as you keep sweeping. He resisted comparisons to portable vacs like the Dyson, but noted that Bruno’s motor is “very strong” — it can “suck up a standard-sized glass marble.”
The system can remind you via the smartphone app that it’s garbage day.
It’s the freestanding equivalent of the VacPan, an automatic dustpan for central vac systems. The difference is that Bruno doubles as a garbage can and packs some high-tech features: The lid has a proximity sensor too, so there’s no need to lift it manually or step on a foot pedal — its motorized hinge does that for you, and it has a built-in bag dispenser. Out of those bags? The system can remind you via the smartphone app to pick up more (if you use the Bruno bags), or that it’s garbage day and you had better get that full bag to the curb.
But this sucker comes with a few challenges. Unlike the VacPan, you’ll still need floor space, notes Kathi Burns, a San Diego-based CPO (certified professional organizer — yes, that’s a thing), which can be a deal breaker for some homeowners. She advises against the Bruno if you’re building or remodeling your home as it’s bound to get in the way later; otherwise, she thinks it’s a “great solution.” Another possible annoyance: recharging the battery. Howard claims a fully charged battery should last 30 days under normal use, but if you keep ignoring the app’s reminder, you’re stuck with old-school stooping and sweeping — not to mention you’ll be opening Bruno’s lid by hand; there’s no built-in handle.
You can preorder the Bruno for $129-$159, in five different colors, for a November delivery, though the risk-averse may want to wait until the first reviews are published. Even though Howard and Montag have successfully launched products such as the Slap Watch, Bruno is their most ambitious gadget yet. You wouldn’t want to be disappointed by a poorly performing garbage smartcan. That would suck.