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Digital Dumpster diving: A trashcan that reports on what you throw away

Evan Schuman | May 6, 2015
GeniCan scans and figures out almost everything you are throwing away or recycling and wirelessly transmits that data back to the mother ship.

The app's store mode does give rise to an intriguing aspect of the company's plan. Griffin said that GeniCan will use a combination of third-party databases and consumer crowdsourcing to create planograms (aisle maps) of stores all over the U.S. That would be quite an accomplishment, but it's something that many apps have struggled with. Among the difficulties: Store managers like to move merchandise around to expose shoppers to new impulse purchase temptations. Griffin hopes that input from his customers — motivated by things like $5 coupons if they note the location of x number of items — will make his maps accurate. To do that, though, he would not only need a large number of customers in one geographic region, but a large number of customers visiting the same store. That's unlikely to happen in time for that feature to be useful.

For now, the company is trying to raise funds for the rollout at Indiegogo, with a goal of $50,000. Thus far, 10 days in, 30 people have kicked in, for a total of $4,170. As of Sunday (May 3), the site had 12 comments on it, 11 of them from company employees. (My favorite is from co-founder/vice president of creative David Pestka. Here it is verbatim: "Who can make your shopping list,...Easier for you?...Who can get the fam-i-ly to help you with it too?...The GeniCan can....The GeniCan can!!")

As we move ever deeper into the IoT mindset, I'm not wild about my refrigerator, showerhead and thermostat beaming my secrets to Madison Avenue. But paying for the privilege of giving my trashcan an IP address and a microphone? That's one idea that should have been thrown away from the start.


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