Apple Unveils Liam – a Robot that Rips Apart iPhones for Recycling

By: | April 8th, 2016

Apple is no doubt the topmost smartphone manufacturer in the world, which caters to the needs of millions and millions of customers with its new iPhones every year. But, it is also responsible for thousands of tons of IT junk which ends up in landfills.

To cope up with this problem, Apple has unveiled a robotic system called Liam. The robot is programmed to take apart junked iPhones and recover valuable materials which can be recycled or reused.

Liam, which was under development for nearly three years, is programmed to disassemble only the iPhone 6.  However, Apple has plans to handle different devices in the future.

The robot system has already been installed at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. Apple plans to build a second one in Europe.

Here are some of Liam’s features:

  • It will allow smartphone parts to be partially salvaged and reused in newer phones.
  • It has 29 robotic arms that can rip apart an iPhone for recycling, where every single arm has a different attachment – some have drills, others have screwdrivers, and yet others have suction cups.
  • It is very fast, and it can take apart an iPhone 6 every 11 seconds.
  • At this rate, if Liam works continuously, it can handle millions of phones per year.
  • Aluminum, copper, tin, tungsten, cobalt, gold, and silver parts of the iPhone can be easily recovered.
  • It is an awesome robot and is programmed to carefully disband the iPhone’s parts, like the SIM card trays, screws, batteries, and cameras by removing components in stages, making it easier to recycle.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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