Published: 14th June 2019
This IIT Madras student's robot may soon solve the issue of manual scavenging
SEPoy, a robot made by an IIT Madras student Divanshu Kumar cleans septic tanks by going inside them
What could a humongous three-legged robot, which could effortlessly make all of us look like lilliputians be doing on the corridor of IIT Madras, we wondered. Is this straight out of a transformer movie? Definitely not. But this was something that could be a solution to a deep-rooted problem in the Indian society — manual scavenging.
Named SEPoy, this robot developed by an IIT Madras student Divanshu Kumar and his guide Dr Prabhu Rajagopal, is designed to go inside the septic tanks and clean the sludge by homogenising it. Divanshu explains its working to us. "The robot can enter the septic tanks and then expand its blades. These blades work like a blender and homogenise the sludge," he says, adding that the sludge can be as hard as a cement brick over time. "Usually, manual scavengers enter the tanks with hammers, which they use to break the sludge. But here, once it is broken, the waste can be sucked out of the tank using a vacuum pump that is fitted on to the robot," he says.
The robot is designed in such a way that only the verticle portion enters the tank and the blades then expanded. The blades are removable and expandable, depending on the width of the tank. The speed of the blade can be adjusted between 60 to 330 amperes. On top of that, it works completely on mechanical power. "We have designed it carefully making sure that only the top part of the robot is electrical. That way, we have avoided the risk of any explosion if the electrical parts come in contact with the poisonous gases inside the tank," says Divanshu.
The vertical height of SEPoy can also be easily changed, depending upon the tank's depth. Also, the robot's control panel is designed in such a way that it can be operated by anyone. "In the next iteration, we're making it completely out of aluminium, hence making it lighter. We are also planning to give the robot wheels, for easier transportation," adds Divanshu. The market cost of this robot will fall somewhere around Rs 15 Lakh.