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Apple’s Liam Robot — Rip Your Old iPhone For Recycling

Posted in Apple, iphone, and Robots

Apple showed off its new Research and Development project called Liam, a robot designed to deconstruct old iPhones into reuse materials. It’s Interesting!

Liam robot rip your old iphone for recycling

The robot automatically scans old iPhones and separates them into component parts, which can allow old parts to become new parts. Liam scans materials in the phone and instantly knows the makeup of the part as well as what it can be used for.

Liam, which has been under development for nearly three years, will initially focus on the iPhone 6. Apple plans to modify and expand the system to handle different devices and recover more resources, the company said.

Apple says that old parts can become solar panels, new iPhones or other hardware. It’s not clear how many Liam’s Apple has, but the company says its engineers designed and built the robot itself.

Greenpeace welcomed Apple’s initiative as an example of how the company is committed to keeping more products out of land fills, but the environmental group questioned how much of an impact the Liam robot would actually have on overall iPhone recycling volumes.

Liam robot rip your old iphone for recycling


Independent e-waste recyclers, which handle the bulk of discarded iPhones, will not have access to Liam.

“If it’s easy for a robot, that’s great,” said Gary Cook, senior IT analyst for Greenpeace. “But making it easier for a human, who will be doing most of this, is part of the solution.”

Greenpeace urged Apple to build more products using recycled metals, and to make its devices easier to deconstruct. Cook said Apple has been an industry leader on some environmental issues, such as asking suppliers to run on renewable energy.

“A lot of the sector has followed their lead because they’ve helped change the supply chain,” he said.

Apple also announced CareKit – a new research tool for people to better understand data for various health conditions. iPhone users can now better track vitals like temperature, heart rate or range of motion if they have Parkinson’s Disease or have just undergone surgery, for example. This data can then be shared with their loved ones or doctors to adjust treatments. CareKit will be available this April.

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