About the Project


Lowell Trash Machine is a community volunteer based project to design, construct, and operate an autonomous robot to remove floating trash from the historic  canals in Lowell Massachusetts.

The design and prototyping will be performed by engineering students at UMass Lowell for credit hours as their senior design project. The first semester allows the team to determine project scope, requirements, concept, and schedule. The second semester is allotted for detailed design and prototype construction. There are deadlines for project deliverable throughout the semester and completion of the senior design project is a graduation requirement. The students must deliver their prototype by the end of May 2018.

To build community awareness of our efforts, a naming contest will allow residents to participate in the project. Students at Lowell High School are invited to participate through a contest to design the exterior of the machine.

The system will begin operation before the end of July 2018, so it can be on display during the Lowell Folk Festival.

Installing a machine in the canals that can continuously remove floating trash will directly benefit area surrounding the project location. Less trash in the canal will improve the water quality and appearance of the nearby parks. In addition, visual and photographic assessments will be regularly made before and after implementation.

We are expecting feedback from residents and positive press regrading Lowell’s commitment to improving the city and beautification of the downtown area. This will be measured in number of people participating in events or online, and from feedback solicited from partners and allies such as Lowell National Historical Park, Lowell Canalwater Cleaners, Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the City of Lowell.