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IIT-M team develops battery-run sweepers

IIT-M team develops battery-run sweepers

  • 12th Feb 2021
  • Times of India

CHENNAI: Conservancy workers brushing city streets with brooms amid a storm of dust kicking up is a common early morning sight. Studies have shown that a majority of them also suffer from multiple health problems due to the working conditions. Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, have designed and developed a road dust collector that works like a lawn mower to make road cleaning a little less backbreaking.

Researchers said the two-foot-tall, battery-operated prototype machine is equipped with rolling brushes, dust pans and suction fans to clear both fine and coarse particles off roads. It can also be run on solar energy. Professor Shiva Nagendra, department of civil engineering, said the dust collector is an improvised version and has been widely tested on various road surfaces in IIT-M campus.

Besides two small rotating brushes, the machine has a rolling brush that pushes the dust particles on the road backwards. Coarse particles, stones and leaves get collected in a dustpan attached to the machine while the finer particles get kicked up in the air to be drawn in by small suction fans. The entire process happens as the machine, with a capacity of collecting 40 litres (or kg) of coarse debris and 14 litres of fine dust, is moved at 3km per hour. The research teams found the machine to be
cleaning 70-90% of the dust on various surfaces in the institute campus.

"With three batteries, the machine can work for eight hours. The machine consumes less power as only the brushes and suction fans, which are fans used in computer CPUs, require them," said Dheeraj Alshetty V, a research scholar, who was nvolved in the project. Alshetty said they spent around Rs 50,000 to develop the prototype, but it will work out much cheaper when it is commercially manufactured.