Kasa Can

The Smart Trash Can


It's connected to the internet and to your phone

It knows when it's full and needs to be emptied

Can be connected to a hose bib for periodic cleaning

Can take itself to the curb for trash day


It can't open doors, gates, or pass through other solid obstacles without assistance

Needs to be charged periodically. Battery life provides for about 1 km of roundtrip travel distance over average terrain to the curb

Bin has a weight limit of 110 kg

There is no on-device interface except for a multi-color LED and two programmable buttons

Once items are thrown away, they cannot be retrieved

the unknowns

Who is my user?

Who is my client, as opposed to the customer that will use the product?

What type of trash can? Is it a wastebasket or something larger?

What are the physical dimensions of the trash can? What is the volume limit?

How does it maneuver in two (or possibly three dimensions)?

What triggers it to go to the curb on trash day?  Is it interoperable with the trash collection company's machinery?

What are the non-functional requirements (sustainability/supply chain/MSDS)? 

What specific type of trash? Compost? Recycling? Landfill?

Are all of the features intended to have equal weight or priority?

Why is taking out the trash considered to be burdensome?

How could the experience of taking out the trash be improved?

What would make a trash can "smart?"

What information does the user (and app) need to get from the trash can?

What instructions does the app need to give to the trash can?

What will encourage the user to choose a smart trash can over a regular one?

what I deduced based on the info

If it takes itself to the curb on trash day, then it must mean the 'trash can' is large enough to warrant being mobile and meant to be used outside.

If the weight limit is 110 kg (242 lbs), then that implies a weight heavier than a human can handle, and therefore a lifting mechanism will be necessary to empty out the trash.

If a lifting mechanism is needed, the trash can will need to be interoperable with the trash collection company's machinery.

If items cannot be retrieved once they're thrown away, then the security of waste is crucial and only authorized persons (presumably the garbage men) can retrieve the garbage.

If it can't open doors or go through obstacles, something or someone will have to clear the path.

who is involved?

Throws trash

Throws trash

Asks for a trash can

Designs the trash can

Produces the trash can

Collects trash on a schedule

main user

Nuclear family

More people = more trash

Uses the trash can every day

Challenge brief implies a family by alluding to the conflict over responsibility over the trash. Resolving this conflict leads to a more robust solution.

There are many possibilities for a multi-person household but the nuclear family presents the most interesting interpersonal dynamics. It can be parent to parent, parent to child, parent as intermediary between the children.

i need data!


1. From start to finish, will you tell me how you dispose of trash?

2. What kinds of trash do you usually throw out?

3. Do you separate your trash?

4. How often do you leave trash at the curb for pickup?

5. What are the approximate dimensions of your trash can?

6. Who takes out the trash?


7. How do you feel about having to take out the trash?

8. What don't you like about taking out the trash?


9. What do you like about taking out the trash?

10. If you could change anything about the trash, what would you change?

let's cluster our data!


"It looks dirty seeing the garbage without the lids."

What goes into the trash?

"Random, non-recyclables."


"I do it, mostly. The kids sometimes take it out but rarely."

"It's dirty, it leaks, and it smells. I don't want it to drip on me."

"Anything non-recyclable or non-compostable."


Pick up schedule

"I bring it out once a week on Monday nights."

"Once a week."

Transporting the trash can

"I don't like having to walk out."

"Even though I can roll it out, it's still heavy!"


"I wish it cleans itself!"

"I wish I didn't need to walk out with it!"

main findings

Throwing the trash is a two-step process. First, the user gathers all trash from the wastebaskets inside the house. Second, the user then puts them all in the bigger trash can that is taken to the curb.


The indoor trash is much more visible and it's apparent when it needs to be transferred to a bigger trash can. 


It's the outdoor can that is "out of sight, out of mind" for which more feedback would be helpful to the family.

Trash cans get heavy, that's why they are stored on the ground floor (commonly in the garage) to be rolled or easily carried to the curb .

Forgetting to take the trash out is not uncommon.

Trash cans are usually cleaned after being emptied.

who's the persona?

Linda is a 39-year old mother living in suburban Walnut Creek.  She and her husband Jamie have a 15-year old daughter and a 9-year old son. As a busy working mom, she has a lot of responsibility, working outside the home and taking care of the kids. With so much to keep track of, even the smallest chores, such as taking out the trash, can be annoying. It's heavy, stinky, and grimy from all of the leaking garbage. 



  • Would like to have minimal interaction with the trash can 

  • Wants to make taking out the trash easier for her and the kids

  • Would like an effective way to clean the trash can

what's Linda's journey like?

features ideation

app sketches + wireframe

Home screen



hardware ideation

Presenting: Project Kasablanca

Home Screen

Check the status of your trash can. The device provides alerts on the amount of garbage (current weight), battery life, when it's full and it's time to take out the trash.

Schedule Trash Take Out

Schedule when you'd like your smart trash can to take itself out to the curb, such as on trash collection day. Get notified to clean your trash can after being emptied!

Take Out the Trash 

The Kasa Trash Can can do the heavy lifting and walking to the curb for you! Kasa checks off each precondition to let you know it's ready to do its job.

Clean the Trash Can

The Kasa Trash Can can do the heavy cleaning for you, automatically! Kasa will confirm that you have fulfilled all preconditions so that it is ready to be cleaned again.

installation user flow

app user flow

hardware specs



Two buttons: 


Hard reset 

Multi-colored LEDs for indicating amount of garbage.

Continuous track system allows for movement in two dimensions.




Weight sensor integrated inside the device.

Mailbox mechanism design for securing disposed trash.


Hose receptacle and charging receptacle.


Trash is retrieved by garbage collection companies. Turning trash can

upside down by collector triggers the  accelerometer, unlocking the hinge and releasing all garbage.


minimum viable product

future improvements

three-bin solution

Extend to other types of trash such as recyclables and compost.

solar panels on the trash can

Acquire energy sustainably.

3D maneuverability


diversion rate

With a three-bin design, know how much you're saving the planet!

disposal rate

know if you're dumping too much stuff!


ability to assign oversight of trash take out

thank you!