Introduction: EcoClaw

As a team, we decided that it would be our goal to combat pollution and littering with a smart solution that would encourage people to take care of their environments and communities. The Eco-Claw will be a tool that can be used to pick up solid waste while counting the amount of waste picked up, reflected in an enticing milestone-reward system. The counter and the competitive game mentality, similar to products such as the Fitbit and Apple watch, can create a new perspective and added incentive towards cleaning the environment, and can provide valuable statistics at the same time.

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Step 1: Materials

- Garbage claw

- Wire IR sensor

- Accelerometer

- OLED display screen

- 3D printer and filament

- Handle right side (3D printed)

- Handle left side (3D printed)

- IR sensor casing (3D printed)

- Computer Autodesk Fusion 360

- Fritzing Arduino IDE

- Black electrical tape

- Adafruit FLORA microprocessor

- Green Ribbon

Step 2: Process Components

- Remove handle from existing garbage claw

- Remove one prong pad from existing garbage claw

Step 3: Write Code for the OLED Display

- Download libraries for this particular screen from

- Create templates for the different displays that will appear throughout use (these will appear when certain conditions are met later in the coding)

- Leopard Keyboard Code found on Leopard Keyboard GitHub:

Step 4: Write Code for the IR Sensor and Accelerometer

- Download libraries for this particular sensor from

- The IR sensor should be able to tell when it grasps an object based on proximity.

- The Accelerometer should be able to detect motion and assign certain values to detected changes in velocity.

- Leopard Keyboard Code found on Leopard Keyboard GitHub:

Step 5: Integrating the IR Sensor and Accelerometer

The IR sensor and Accelerometer both collect data individually; however, when the data is combined, the claw can detect when you have successfully picked up trash. The IR sensor lets the claw know if it is currently holding an object and we have selectively chosen proximity values for the sensor so if the claw is closed but is not holding an object, it will not read that as holding an object. The accelerometer lets the claw know if it has moved up, resembling an action which the user would have to take in order to move the trash into a trash bag or container of some sort. When these two bits of data work together in unison, Eco Claw can tell you that you get a trash point and count numbers.

Leopard Keyboard Code found on Leopard Keyboard GitHub:

Step 6: 3D Model and Print Handles

- When modeling the handle, be sure to consider comfort of grip, reducing the number of sharp edges as much as possible.

- Two versions of the handle should be made: one for the left side, and one for the right side. The handles should include male and female threaded holes for connecting the two, and the handle for the right side should have the opening to allow the OLED screen through.

- As shown in the dimensioned sketch, the handle should be able to fit all necessary components.

- For ease of access, a port was added to the back of the claw for the event of quick recharging.

- For printing, an Ultimaker 2 printer was used. Because of raised, flat surfaces that are not in contact with the printer bed, generating supports is recommended, and is most easily done by using the Autodesk PrintStudio program, which optimizes support structure distribution for your design. Printing is estimated to take 8 hours per handle.

- Online file is available here for download:

Step 7: 3D Model and Print IR Casing

- Because of the added IR component to the end of the claw, we chose to create a prong end that would fit the IR sensor we were using. Additionally, we chose to design the casing so the existing casing opposite to the IR sensor would fit inside when closed.

- Like the handle, we recommend using Autodesk Fusion and PrintStudio. Printing is estimated to take 2 hours.

Step 8: Assemble Handle

- When the handles are completed, and the FLORA, OLED, and battery are available, they should be assembled.

- The FLORA will fit in the handle and be held by the plastic extrusions built into the handle.

- The sensors and screen should be soldered to wires and then to the I^2C pins on the FLORA. This allows for full transmission of data between components.

- The battery is designed to fit into the FLORA, and should be plugged accordingly

- The wires for the IR sensor and Accelerometer should be soldered into the FLORA and threaded through the appropriate hole towards the outside of the handle.

- The metal shaft of the existing claw should be fit into the appropriate enclosure in the handle. If the margin of error in the 3D printer has adjusted the dimensions of the enclosure to be too wide to snugly fit the shaft, adjust the thickness of the shaft with electrical tape.

- To attach the OLED screen, battery, and FLORA, use electrical tape and attach to appropriate locations in the handle.

- Using the threaded holes on the two sides of the handle, close the two sides together and reinforce with electrical tape if needed. The handle should now be closed and attached to the metal shaft of the existing claw.

Step 9: Assemble IR Sensor

- At the end of the existing claw, one of the two pads must be unscrewed from the rest of the claw. (Save the nut and bolt from this step. You will use it later.)

- Solder the pins of the IR sensor to the appropriate I^2C wires threaded out of the handle. When the IR sensor is completely soldered, use the nut and bolt from the first step to attach the new casing to the claw.

Step 10: Assemble Accelerometer

- Because of the calibration used in the creation of the accelerometer code Leopard Keyboard has provided, we recommend using electrical tape to attach the accelerometer to the absolute end of the metal shaft. This will ensure that the changes in accelerations detected accurately reflect the actions they are meant to detect.

- Similarly to the IR sensor, the accelerometer should be soldered to wires using the appropriate I^2C pins from the FLORA in the handle.

- To ensure security, another layer of electrical tape should be used to cover the top of the accelerometer.

Step 11: Binding

- Using the electrical tape left, first coil the tape around any exposed wires on the claw to secure them. The motion for wrapping the claw should be similar to wrapping the handle of a tennis racquet.

- Once the tape has been used to seal the handle, use thick green ribbon as the last layer for a refined look. This should be applied in the same manner as the tape.

Step 12: Testing / Debugging

After you have completed the construction of the device, we recommend certain tests to ensure that the EcoClaw is working properly. Using the code provided in this instructable, a few things should happen when the claw is being used:

- When you pick up an object and throw it in the trash, the claw should count one point.

- When you close the claw on itself, the claw should not count any points.

- When you drop an object, the claw should not count any points.

Using these pointers, make any physical or digital adjustments as you see fit to fine-tune your EcoClaw.

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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    very cool concept. nice work.


    3 years ago

    Cool design :)