Clarke the robot can separate recyclable products at super-human speeds.  

(Courtesy AMP Robotics)

Inventor Matanya Horowitz  thinks Clarke the robot will revolutionize the recycling industry. Horowitz, who founded Denver-based AMP Robotics, got a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop the prototype for a robot that uses artificial intelligence to pick up and sort recyclables at a rate much faster than human can. 

Nicknamed Clarke, the robot started operating about a year ago at Alpine Waste and Recycling in Denver. Right now, it's used to sort cartons from other recycling products but Horowitz says it already has the ability to separate most recyclables. 

The result, he says, is a purer product that recyclers can sell to other companies at a higher price. Horowitz says the industry has a labor shortage which is another advantage to having a robot to do the job. 

Matanya Horowitz spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner.