Chasing Mirages

Treasure chest, garbage can, or….both?

by on Mar.14, 2010, under Posts

This post is an experiment in interactive blogging.  I hope that my loyal readers (yes, all 2 of you) can help me solve a mystery.  A few weeks ago, I was visiting Shanghai when this shiny blue-and-grey beauty caught my eye:

Two words immediately popped out at me – 生化 – which mean ‘bio-chemical’, but more importantly, which are the first two words in the  Chinese title of one of the best movies ever made.  That, combined with the conspicuous lightning bolt symbol, convinced me that this inscrutable piece of equipment should not be ignored.

But I’ve since had little luck finding more information.  That’s why I’m enlisting your help.

Please post a comment with a useful lead (or the best guess you can come up with) that explains what this thing does and how it works.  The author of the most useful and/or most entertaining comment* wins a delicious Beijing roast duck meal at Da Dong.

The catch, of course, is that the winner will have to endure every painful minute of awkward conversation with me during the meal.  The other catch is that you’ll have to come to Beijing to collect your prize. I’ll be really generous and throw in a free night of lodging on my floor.

To give you a headstart and level the playing field for those of you who don’t read Chinese, here are some clues:

  • The first line of text reads “FD-RMCM”.  Sorry about the bad photography.
  • The second line reads “移动式生化处理机”, which means ‘mobile bio-chemical processing machine’
  • The first line on the bottom reads “上海复旦复达科技有限公司”, which means ‘Shanghai Fudan Fu Da Technology Company, Limited’
  • The second line on the bottom reads “上海静安区环建集团”, which means ‘Shanghai Jing An District Environmental Construction Group’
  • The text under the lightning bolt reads “请勿触碰”, which means ‘Please do not touch’
  • The mysterious cabinet was placed at ground level, abutting a multi-unit residential building

Good luck to you all.  May the best commenter win.

*The winner will be picked at my discretion. If all of the comments are worthless, then we will all be losers together.


11 Comments for this entry

  • Bryan T.

    Ok adding one more comment. I found a useful link to what I think is the company profile. I’ve spent some time with online translators and determined that this company builds systems that process organic waste, compost, make trash “smell” better, etc.

    Without knowing what’s under that lid and not being able to find another image online of this contraption I think I’m limited to speculating. Since it’s in a residential area and managed by a district’s environmental group, I’m submitting as a final guess that it’s a “microorganism organic trash processor”.

    Here’s the best translation I could make:
    “Fudan University’s most advanced technique not only manifests on the FDW microorganism organic trash processor’s core technologies mold mushroom spawn, equipment’s mechanical drive part; The computer control section and on equipment’s stainless steel material achieves displays of creativity, has shown the science and technology strength fully.”

    So they use fungus? Cool!

    • Bryan T.

      It’s like a big version of these:

      And when the composting storage is full, they have a garbage-truck like vehicle pick it up from each location and take it to a compost processing plant, likely out in the countryside where the soil can be used for farming. That’s what makes it a “mobile” device.

    • Mirage Chaser

      Whoa, this is great stuff. Thanks for sharing! I’m going to take a closer look at all your sources and compare it to some other info I found..

  • Edith

    Inside the cell, probably is to deal with garbage in it, turning waste into treasure?

  • cyn

    what gives – i can’t find information on either of those “companies/organizations” online.

    i’m going to toss incubator into the ring.

  • Bryan

    It’s gotta be one of these:
    “Organic garbage processsor; zoology stream; Organic garbage processsor; road sight wastebin”

    Those descriptions don’t make much headway in telling us *exactly* what it is. Unfortunately their website is down (

    I’ll say it’s an Organic Garbage Processor for Construction Projects. Not really sure what it processes though. Wood? Insulation? Random plant matter?


    BTW, there are too many damn companies with the name “Shanghai Fudan _____ Technology, Limited”. You can fill in the blank and something will come up.

    • Bryan

      As an alternative, maybe I should just take “Environmental Toilet” literally and assume it’s a bulk human feces processor.

  • yao

    as loyal reader #2, i will guess that it’s a portable bio-waste bin used to dispose of the dead super cows that china is producing to compete with kobe beef. coming soon to a carrefour near you: koba beef!

  • beto

    at first, i thought it might be something for disposing of chemicals or lead paint…but then i realized that’s what rivers and toys are for.

    after studying the picture a bit more it seems odd that an electrical cord would be coming out of the front of the machine & not be plugged in…meaning that perhaps it’s not turned on…and possibly broken.

    my best guess is that it is an old machine from Fudan University used for rMCM (recombinant MCM:…just being randomly stored at an old building.

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