IIT-Madras students set record with 45 robotic cleaners

IIT-Madras students have fabricated 45 robots to simultaneously clean an area of 750 square feet for over 15 minutes on Sunday, in a major initiative aimed at sustaining and strengthening the concept of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

A total of 270 students from IIT-M's Centre For Innovation (CFI) created 45 custom-designed robots that wielded a fast rotating 'jhadu' or scrubber that cleaned an area the size of badminton court to create the new record.

Each robot is fitted with a high RPM motor at the centre, with two rotating scrub pads that direct dust into the central suction mechanism, while a filter in the vacuum tunnel collects the dust.

The robots were controlled over Bluetooth via an Android-based application.

Representatives of the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records, who adjudicated the event at Students Activities Centre on the campus, have awarded a provisional certificate after the successful completion of the exercise.

The final certification would follow after validation and assessment of the record evidences.

Prof B Ravindran, CFI faculty-in-charge, said the record was the latest in the list of achievements by the robotics groups. "Robotics is one of the oldest co-curricular activities at IIT Madras. In the past, IIT-M teams have successfully participated in various global competitions," he said.

Gaurav Lodha, student executive head, CFI, and a fourth year dual-degree student in the department of civil engineering, listed the benefits of use of robots.

"This will also impart technical training to students by teaching them the basics of electronics, robotics, automation, wireless communication, 3D printing, rapid prototyping and software modelling along with soft skills like teamwork, time management, problem-solving, communication and leadership," he said.

Experts claim the use of robots can contribute to eradication of manual scavenging and also help replace humans in cleaning sewer waste.