Published: 03rd June 2020
IIT Guwahati start-up develops tunnel that can disinfect you in seven seconds for just Rs 2
This innovation can be used in hospitals, office buildings, residential societies, food markets, school, colleges, bus stands, cinema halls, malls, and more
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG) is leading the fight against novel Coronavirus. The institute’s community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni are working tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are developing innovative solutions to address sanitation and precaution concerns amid the pandemic with a set of affordable and innovative products. Vixudha Bio Product, a start-up incubated at IITG, in collaboration with Oasis Fabrications, have designed and developed a disinfectant tunnel for full-body disinfection and also for other large packages.
Dr Mihir Kumar Purkait, Head of Centre for the Environment, and professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Dr Prabir Kumar Saha, Department of Chemical Engineering at the institute are spearheading the start-up and the project. The disinfectant tunnel is a full-body disinfection chamber meant to decontaminate one personnel at a time. High-pressure nozzles spray the disinfectant fluid in the form of a fine mist filling the chamber. This fluid disrupts the protein structure of microorganisms on the surface, thus killing them eventually. The spraying continues for a set time of seven seconds. "Apart from the sensitive areas like our eyes and mouth, the rest of the body can be disinfected when you enter the tunnel. The body gets exposed to a lot of germs, bacteria and viruses on transport or outdoor places especially amid the outbreak of such a life-threatening disease. What is unique about our tunnel is the mist formation using a nozzle so it will be uniformly distributed on the object or human body and not just hands or parts of the body. It will work on any kind of virus or microorganisms, not just the COVID-19 virus. Any standard disinfectant can be used in the tunnel," explains Dr Purkait.
The operational cost is low too, about Rs 2 per person and the volume of fluid sprayed in one cycle is 25 ml. The disinfectant tunnel is 3 feet by 6 feet by 8 feet and can be easily installed at confined spaces. This innovation can be used in hospitals, office buildings, residential societies, food markets, school, colleges, bus stands, cinema halls, malls, etc. Oasis Fabrications, a company that works for the Railways has created the tunnel along with the IIT Guwahati incubated start-up. The IITG team took around 30-45 days to develop the entire project. "Oasis helped with fabrication as the lockdown is in place we couldn't procure items on campus or even make it there. The tunnel is capable of disinfecting materials like home deliveries, other large packages. We thought we are washing hands and wearing masks but what about the e-commerce deliveries that come in? Those should be disinfected too before being touched by anyone," he adds.
The IITG campus is closed now, once it's reopened, each hostel will have one of these tunnels and so will the other entrances. Rajeev Saikia, Managing Director of Vixudha Bio Product says that they began creating the tunnel around March end or the first week of April. "We are speaking to more people, queries have come from other parts of the country. We expect a few orders in the upcoming days or months so people and organisations can benefit from the innovation," he adds.