Published: 10th March 2021
This vacuum cleaner is for keeping public spaces free of plastics. Check it out!
Five students of Sona College of Engineering have developed a vacuum cleaner that can pick up light plastic off the roads and shred them into reusable material
Plastic pollution is a real problem and while the government has launched campaigns to reduce plastic waste and to also keep our roads and public spaces clean, how many of us are actually doing it? This was the thought behind five final-year Sona College of Engineering students when they began working on a vacuum cleaner-like device to keep the public spaces free from plastic. After working on it for nine months, the machine is now ready and it is a major nod to the Clean India Mission.
Speaking about how it works, R Akash, one of the five students who made the device, says, "The device has built-in infrared sensors that automatically detect lightweight plastic in its path. The device then sucks the plastic off the road into the storage bag, much like a vacuum cleaner." Akash says the machine not only collects the plastic but also shreds it into small pellets that can be used later. "We are also looking at reusing the plastic in construction, mixing it with concrete and other building material," adds N Javeeth Khan, another team member.
The five students from the Civil Engineering department along with their professors | Pic: Sona College of Engineering
To built the device, the five Civil Engineering students also received some support from an Electrical and Electronics Engineering student. Other than the infrared sensors and vacuum, the device also contains two motors that help it move. "We have used motors used to operate car wipers. However, the machine has to be handled manually now, but we are still in the process of developing an automatic version," says Akash. "The device only sucks in plastic that weighs anything between 0.25 Pascals to 0.5 Pascals, which can be detected in seconds," adds Akash.
The team wishes to develop the device for commercial spaces like malls but they are mostly focused on the Indian Railways at the moment. "The platforms and tracks always have so much plastic littered around. With the help of this device, plastic pieces can be removed from the tracks and made into something useful and eco-friendly," says Javeeth. "If the wheels of the device are modified, the automatic version of the device can also run on the tracks," he adds. Other than Akash and Javeeth, the other three students are TV Kishore Kumar, R Dinesh Babu and R Ilavarasan.