How do you clean the beach efficiently without damaging it in the process? If you’re Stefan Djerkic, you cross a vacuum cleaner with a six-legged robot.
Djerkic, a young designer from Canada, says that he grew frustrated watching documentaries about “great garbage patches” in the world’s oceans, and felt like “nobody was talking about [the] issue or addressing [it] from a design perspective.”
“I saw there was a way to improve the cleaning process and I took it from there,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. I looked at existing technology and created a hybrid.”
His machine has a 15-foot hose and a slated-shovel. You pick up a piece of debris, let the sand fall through the holes, then hit a trigger button on the handle to suck items inside a collecting chamber. Most ingeniously, the unit moves automatically: wherever you go, it follows closely. Djerkic went with a hexapod to avoid damage to beach vegetation: heavy-wheeled carts are banned on many beaches, he says.
The Shorvac was Djerkic’s thesis project at Humber College. He’s entered the design for this year’s James Dyson Awards and now wants to find development partners, though he knows that might be difficult.
“I almost made the design just to raise awareness [of marine pollution],” he says. “The problem is people don’t want to take responsibility for what’s going on. Everyone’s pointing fingers at each other. So it’s really hard to find a market.”