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The Silicon Review Asia

IIT develops a robot to do away with manual scavenging

IIT develops a robot to do away with manual scavenging

Researchers have been in contact with sanitation workers to identify locations

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed a robot, HomoSEP, to eliminate manual scavenging in the country. Manual scavenging is still widely practiced in the country. The solid and semi-solid fecal material in septic tanks gives rise to poisonous gases, causing hundreds of deaths every year. The HomoSEP robot can overcome this, through a custom-developed rotary blade mechanism, homogenize hard sludge and pump the tanking slurry using an integrated suction mechanism. Sanitation workers will be able to operate the HomoSEP on their own after relevant training and appropriate guidance along with necessary safety measures. Safety plays a vital role in this whole procedure.

The Institute has been developing the technology for years. The research team has made some significant innovations, including improving the blade design through extensive simulation and achieving miniaturization for better portability. Moreover, the product is integrated with a tractor, enabling it to reach remote locations. The researchers have been in contact with sanitation workers to identify locations. So far, two HomoSEP units have been distributed to self-help groups. Ten units will be deployed across Tamil Nadu, and the Institute is also considering areas in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Institute has been developing several technology-based solutions to combat a variety of societal challenges.

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