Challenging the coronavirus outbreak which has taken over 210,000 lives worldwide, a team of engineering undergrad students — Prabin Kumar Das, Vaishnavi Gupta and Vinay Kumar of the Jalandhar-based Lovely Professional University (LPU, estb.2005) — has developed a smart dustbin christened Ally, for use in hospitals and medical centres.
Conceptualised and developed under the aegis of LPU’s special endowment fund of $1 million (Rs.7.5 crore) to fight Covid-19, Ally moves along predetermined paths in a controlled environment. The smart dustbin makes contact-less collections by opening its lid/flap on voice command. Moreover, its sensors gauge its brim level and dispose waste automatically, readying it for reuse.
“We developed a ready-to-go prototype of Ally and successfully conducted trials in the university’s innovation lab after a full month of continuous refinement and improvements. The prototype, which costs Rs.20,000, is 3 ft. tall, 1.5 ft. wide and weighs almost 5 kg. We used sun boards as the basic material to build the outer structure and engaged Python, openCV, Embedded C software to improve Ally’s performance. For movement, we installed a motor and two front wheels that move in all four directions and an Omni wheel for rotation,” explains Prabin, spokesperson of the team.
“During all phases of product development, we were closely monitored and mentored by Dr. Lovi Raj Gupta, Dr. Rajesh Singh and Dr. Anita Gehlot,” he adds in a tribute to LPU faculty.
Currently, an LPU task force is looking for corporate partners to mass produce the prototype, with Ally expected to become 25 percent cheaper after commercialisation. The final product is expected to be ready for deployment within
two months of factory production.
“Ally’s task of collecting waste in quarantined areas without human contact can save lives of thousands of frontline workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Safety and cleanliness was always Ally’s core purpose. We are hopeful it will be commercialised soon and save millions of lives of medical personnel,” says Pranav, a sentiment echoed by team members Vaishnavi and Vinay. Wind in your sails!
Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)