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Gaming giant Razer is engineering a robot to clean ocean waste

Razer, renowned for building top end hardware and accessories, has lent its engineering nous to ocean clean-up efforts. This is said to be the first of many sustainable projects Razer will boost in 2021.

When it comes to high end gaming hardware, Razer is one of the first companies that springs to mind. If you’re not big on gaming, take the word of someone writing this article on a Razer Blade laptop. The company’s products are top notch.

What you wouldn’t typically associate Razer with, however, is building sustainable tech to combat environmental crises like plastic waste. That’s exactly what’s happening today though.

Just in time for World Oceans Day (June 8th) – a holiday intended to raise awareness for ocean conservation causes and the threats facing marine ecosystems – Razer has announced plans to build a solar-powered robot designed for hoovering up throwaway plastic in our waterways and seas.

The idea for a floating waste receptacle with self-navigation and vision AI, powered by solar energy, originally stemmed from a Hong Kong based start-up called ClearBot. But after running into scaling issues in the manufacturing phase of its prototype, ClearBot decided to enlist the help of leading designers and engineers at Razer.

Initially on a consultant type basis, the pair hashed out design ideas to make the project more marketable and affordable to make. But after hearing Razer’s own vision for the device, ClearBot decided to onboard the gaming giant as an equal partner.

According to press releases from both ClearBot and Razer, not only did the collaboration help to make the design more profitable, but also to make it both smarter and more efficient. You could say Razer’s technical expertise was a gamechanger. I’ll let myself out.

The new iteration identifies marine waste within a circumference of two metres in rough and still waters, storing up to 250kg of plastic (including microplastics) in a single deployment. Watch the video below to see it in action.

Granted, this story arrives as something of a surprise given Razer’s area of expertise clearly lies in developing gaming products, but in truth the company has been delving into humanitarian causes and sustainability projects regularly over the last year.

In the height of the pandemic, for instance, Razer converted many of its factory supply lines to make up global shortages of surgical grade facemasks. The company has also worked with Conservation International closely, and has saved over 300,000 trees threatened by climate change.

With gaming now the most lucrative industry in entertainment, it’s great to see companies like Razer leveraging this massive community for positive change.

Hopefully, CEO Min-Liang Tan will have even more to unveil during its keynote at E3 2021 later this week.


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