Over the last few years, India has been upping its rank in ‘Ease of doing business’ and with that, there has been an increase in number of business with really innovative ideas.
The MSME sector has seen a lot of innovation. Some ideas, just being good ideas were executed by entrepreneurs, some for having good return on investment (RoI) and some for a cause, for social good.
All of those businesses started their journey with ideas. But a journey has its own charm and set of challenges, stories.
Here at Delik House, we interviewed one such innovator who started his journey with a novel idea for a cause that worried him a lot and is a cause of concern for many people across India, especially the parents of the young kids. The story is of Siddharth Das and his teammates Sweta Patra, Swabhiman Balei, and Sumit Kumar Mahapatra.
The issue here is of children falling into open borewells and their consequent rescue.
Such an incident that happened and rocked the nation was of Prince, a six years old boy who fell into 60 feet deep open borewell in 2006. The rescue went on for 50 hours and the success of it was a moment of rejoice for the nation.
Cut to 2020 and the issue of these open borewells still persists. There are a lot of illegal borewells which are ignored. This poses additional risk of children falling into it, because borewells which are given clearance by the municipal corporation are often well regulated and have necessary safety requirements.
Keeping this issue in mind, Siddharth and his team made an automated borewell rescue system. As the name suggests, the machine is used to excavated children who have fallen into the borewell.
Wanna know how it work?
Keep reading this article for that and subscribe to Delik House for more such stories on creative startups and innovations.
Before we get into the technical details, let’s dig deeper into the story of these innovators.
Idea Behind This
This project started with a group of students taking up this idea for their major project which is mandated for them to complete in the final semester of engineering.
They got the inspiration for this project from a rescue robot at IEEE forum. An extended arm was present on that robot which would rescue people. It is not restricted to that only. What makes it special is that it chooses specific routes based on the situation.
For example, if fire breaks out at a place, this robot would choose the path which has the lowest heat intensity to drag the person stuck in the fire. It is assisted with the heat sensor that is built into it.
That inspired them to take the idea into creating a solution to something that is the least thought about- Borewells.
Pondering over ways to create an impact, the though of open borewells came to them because it is one issue that remains in the back of the mind of people but is often ignored because of the compulsion and the intuition to deal with the problems that are considered to be more important.
The peculiarity of the case of borewells is that closing of all illegal borewells is the best possible option, but not the most feasible option. If one case of a child falling into an open borewell comes up, the furore remains in the media for few weeks, and the consequent inspection of that borewell in that region is done and it ends there.
Getting rid of all borewells is a great deal of effort. So the team of four students got fixated in inventing a borewell rescue system. So the idea was to make a similar automated robotic arm but for borewells.
Problems that came building the ‘Borewell Rescue System’
The next job was to chalk out the problems that they can face. The two biggest problems were of connectivity and of the weight of the machine.
Either it could get disconnected while it is inside the borewell or the machine could become so heavy that it would become very difficult for the machine itself to crawl in and back. To tackle these problems, they drew inspiration from ordinary wells having buckets attached with a pulley.
Now the idea was to make a mechanical arm attached with an automated pulley. By doing so, even if the machine loses connectivity, it could be pulled out with external mechanical support and the weight can be managed by that as well. Because of this mechanical arm, they won’t have to dig a parallel borewell to rescue the child.
Another assistive feature which can be used to benefit is of adding a camera to see the operation live and navigate judiciously. Since, providing oxygen to the baby stuck at the bottom is difficult task, it can be provided through this machine only.
Another thing is that mobility of the machine is not hampered because of it’s small size; it can be carried anywhere on top of a truck.
But being an entrepreneur is not only limited to the technical aspect of the project, but also the business, administration and many other factors that help put things in place.
For these guys, the major help that they got was from their Head of Department and their guide Mrs. Soumyashree Mangaraj, who is an assistant professor at CET, Bhubaneswar.
The next best help that they could get was open information on the internet. They used to read articles, hypothesize scenario and test it.
All the new additions are based on the readings that they had done. The one grievance they have is of not having total expertise on all the aspects, so if the authorities had provided them with some resources or technical assistance by experts, this project would have been a reality by now, ready to rescue children on the go.
Because having an expert on board gives a better perspective on what needs to be done and what are the shortcomings. And getting support from government can also increase the morale of the people involved in the project.
How the machine works?
There’s a camera which locates the baby, showing the orientation of the body who is stuck, then the clamp arm is released inside the borewell with the help of a leather belt which is attached to a pulley. Then one arm of the clamp will hold from the thigh bone and another arm will give support to the back and pull the baby upwards. The thigh bone being the strongest bone in the body makes it unlikely to break under the sheer body weight. Attached with the clamp are an oxygen supply tube and a microphone that would supply the baby with oxygen and the purpose of the microphone is to calm the baby down.
This complete system is operated with the help of radio waves because of its longer wavelength.
Mr Siddharth was delighted to share what he actually learnt through this project.
‘There are hundreds of problems in the society that we live in which either may be related to society, gender, safety and a lot of other things but if we concentrate on one problem and give it our best shot then the outcome can be much different. We don’t have to wake up everyday to do hundreds of things, rather we should do few things and do them right.’
Moving on to the status of the project, this project is getting additions on a regular basis and making a real good progress.
The machine is yet to be finalized because the testing is being carried out with prototypes and the patents are yet to be acquired. We can wish them luck for their project to become a reality for the greater good.
Sayantan Mitra writes about society with touches of polity and politics. His main focus is on providing informative content with a unique perspective, but never at the cost of providing just mere entertainment.