M.Manikandan, a Junior Faculty of Plumbing at TVS Community College has become a hero of sorts among his peers at college and nearby places. 43-year-old Mr. Manikandan has invented a device called “Borewell robot”, which as the name suggests, helps to rescue kids who fall into borewells.
Now this might not really sound that useful to our Non-India readers, but here in the country, abandoned borewells are a common thing to cite. With the level of water deprecating every year, people have no choice but to dig deeper wells, however, more often than not, the wells that fail to get any water are abandoned, and simply covered with gunny sacks.
Manikandan’s device recently helped in the successful rescue of 4-year-old Harshan who was trapped in a borewell near Sankarankoil, Tamil Nadu. However, 18-month-old Sujith who had fallen into a borewell in Tiruvannamalai did not share the same luck (via). In the latter case, the robot wasn’t able to grip the hands of the baby. One reason was the position he was trapped in, while another possibility is that the device isn’t as functional when you go past a certain depths.
Borewell robot took years of work to come to its present shape. From a 4-foot-long, weighing 20kg device, to a 9-foot-long robot that used an air piston and weighed 30 kg, the device has gone over several iterations to become what it is today.
The real-life tech innovation is a 4-foot-long gadget, which weighs just 5kg. It runs on battery operated DC motor, and could technically work up to 1000 feet and up lift a weight of around 50kg. It sports an infra-red mini camera along with a mini TV that help the rescuers locate the child and to further operations. At its present state, the robot costs around Rs 60,000.
“The robot has an ‘arm’ at the end of the structure which is lowered into a borewell through a rope and pulley. I have fashioned different kinds of arms which can be fitted to pull out the child depending on what position he or she is trapped in,” explains M. Thirunavukkarasu, another member and also a faculty member at the TVS College.
“Even though I’ve stated many times that I’ve nurtured this idea and had to work for years to give it a shape, I pray each day that a need for the borewell robot should not arise and that children should stay safe,” Mr Manikandan said, accepting Vocational Excellence Award.
“If I get support from educational institutions and the government, I will be glad to develop a kit for every district in the State to rescue children who fall into deep borewells,” said Manikandan.
We’re really looking forward to this robot being useful to save lives. If you’ve come across such innovators, we’d love to hear from you!