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A Wonderful Invention: Apple's Robot Liam

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m usually pining for the next big thing from Apple. I’m a gadget girl. But in the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what can be done with all this electronic waste we create when we upgrade to the next shiny thing? I’m thrilled that the engineers at Apple came up with a new invention to address this problem – a robot called “Liam” that disassembles iPhone 6S’s.

The more that I read about the background of this invention, the more I was in awe of this accomplishment and the engineers who created it. First, they named this robot “Liam” just because it looked like a Liam. This invention was three years in the making.

Liam has 29 arms that rapidly deconstruct an iPhone 6S in 11 seconds, removing its parts and and sorting them in a reverse assembly line fashion. So materials that were previously just shredded in hazardous waste recycling are now saved for other purposes, including cobalt, copper, gold, lithium, silver, and platinum. Which really adds up when Liam deconstructs 350 iPhones per hour and 1.2 million each year.

Though Apple is notoriously protective of its inventions and patents, the company hopes others will copy Liam to address the electronic waste problem, which is estimated to be responsible for 70% of our landfills’ toxic waste.

There are also plans to introduce more Liams for other iPhone models and Apple devices. He’ll have a new cousin in Europe later this year. Hmm, what would that make Siri in relation to him? The ingredients for a very fun Earth Day commercial that released last week. Check it out.