It is a sad reality that in our country, approximately 23,000 workers who clean the sewage die each year.
The sewage cleaners who risk their lives and enter the manholes and gutters are not given protective gears and as a result, they are terribly affected by harmful gases inside.
However, very recently, a group of brilliant students at Centre for Non-Destructive Evaluation division at IIT-Madras disclosed that they are working on a robot called SEPoy that was created with an intent to help save the life of these workers.
SEPoy was awaiting lab trials to get to the further stage and as per recent reports, the lab trials for the robot has finished successfully. SEPoy is more likely to enter the Indian market in 1-2 years.
The device was created by Dr.Prabhu Rajagopal- SEPoy is a pneumatically steered robot that weighs 50 kilograms. The robot comes with a camera set-up which is connected to a control unit outside. The camera will guide the robot operator to look into the sewer and gauge the condition of the sewage line.
The robot comes well-equipped with a set of high-velocity cutters that will assist it to cut through the thick sludge in the septic and clear the clog. This is a neatly done process. The sepoy also comes equipped with 360-degree rotating arms to collect and clear the sewage filth.
The cleaning process is performed in two phases. As far as the first phase is concerned, it involves the clearing of the sludge with the help of high-velocity cutters and coming to the second phase, the robot pumps out some of the particles from the sewage and then filling it in the tank or reservoir with water.
Another interesting thing about SEPoy is the fact that the robot is not maintenance-heavy and thereby it is a cost-effective tool. The whole unit costs somewhere around Rs 5-10 lakhs.
The active team is currently working along with National Commission for Safai Karamcharis and is in advanced talks with several ministries and municipalities for mass adoption of SEPoy.