Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) have signed an MOU for transfer of technology and products including the use of robots for cleaning up sewer holes, thereby ending the age-old practice of manual scavenging.
Under the MoU signed between Kerala Water Innovation Zone under KWA and KSUM at the Chief Minister’s office today, the robot, ‘Bandicoot,’ developed by startup firm Genrobotics, will be used for cleaning sewer holes.
‘Bandicoot’ will start its work, so far mostly done manually, by cleaning sewer holes in the city during the famous Attukal Pongala festival in Thiruvananthapuram in March.
The Bandicoot has four limbs and a bucket system attached to a spider web looking extension, which can go inside the manhole. After shoveling the heap of garbage at the bottom of the manhole, it will be collected by using the bucket system before lifting upward. It also has Wi-Fi and bluetooth modules.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan; Minister for Water Resources Mathew. T. Thomas; IT Secretary M. Sivasankar; KSUM CEO Dr. Saji Gopinath; Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources, Tom Jose; KWA officials and eight representatives from Genrobotics were present on the occasion.
The KSUM had funded for the project by Genrobotics, which conducted a field study to find a solution for the age-old practice of manual scavenging. Meanwhile, the KWA also was conducting research on the issue following the Chief Minister’s instruction to find a remedy for it.
Genrobotics is planning to market the product within six months. It has already got enquiries from States like Tamil Nadu to take it to the national-level. Founded in 2015, GenRobotics specializes in powered exoskeletons and human controlled robotic systems.
The robot is powered by pneumatics (using gas or pressurised air) since using heavy electronic equipment inside is risky as they can react with the explosive gases present in the manhole. The KSUM is a nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.
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