Improved Design Brings Smart Compost Tech Closer to Market

Earth mover working on pile of compost

Using data to improve composting

Just 4.1 percent of all wasted food in the United States was composted in 2018. WeRadiate was founded by Sashti Balasundaram in 2019 to innovate and grow the role of composting as part of conventional waste management. WeRadiate’s signature product, Smart Sensor Compost System (SSCS), allows users to closely monitor the condition and performance of small- and medium-sized compost piles. Smart Sensors are placed in a compost pile to collect data that is then transmitted to a software application where an operator can view trends, receive alerts, and optimize the composting process. The company aims to improve the efficiency of composting by increasing the volume and speed at which organic waste is turned into high-quality compost. To bring the innovative concept for SSCS to life, WeRadiate participated in the Scale for ClimateTech (S4C) program, managed by the nonprofit NextCorps, and partnered with RIT’s Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM).

Hand holding a smart sensor compost system over a bed of grass

A more robust, practical design

COE-ASM worked with WeRadiate to first identify and then rank the most important elements of the SSCS design. With this information in hand, prototypes were developed to test the performance of new features and design modifications. This iterative process led to a revised design for a product that was smaller and that offered better access to its internal components. Of note, COE-ASM’s improvements incorporated design for manufacturing (DfM) strategies to allow WeRadiate to easily shift production from its current 3D-printing process to injection-molding in the future. Ultimately, the enhanced design resulted in a more robust, visually appealing product, incorporating features like an access door to replace batteries and rigid handles to improve overall control and comfort.

Man kneeling in field holding a smart sensor compost system while kneeling in a grass field

Ready for the market

WeRadiate’s SSCS is now closer to commercialization, thanks to COE-ASM’s design revisions. Once on the market, the novel product could help municipalities, businesses, and residents keep a high volume of organic waste from going into landfills through more efficient composting. WeRadiate plans to perform customer experience and field testing of the revised SSCS prototype ahead of a tentative product release in 2022.