Kerela-based startup Genrobotic Innovations, a recent winner of IIGP 2.0 Open Innovation Challenge 2018 aims to potentially eliminate the age-old deadly and inhuman practice of manual scavenging in India with their groundbreaking innovation – Bandicoot.
Bandicoot is a spider-shaped robotic exoskeleton with a 7-machine vision to operate with surgical precision, and is capable of replacing a human inside a manhole or sewer. It can collect up to 20 litres of sewage in 20 seconds, and later dump all the garbage into a collecting bucket – with a user controlling its actions from a safe distance.
Despite a ban on employment of manual scavengers in India, the act of manually cleaning of sewages and drains is still prevalent across the country. This is so, because of multitude of reasons, including but not limited to, the lack of viable alternatives and the age-old practice of caste discrimination. With Bandicoot, Genrobotic Innovations provides a safe and stable solution.
In recent years, there has been a sharp spike in deaths of sewer workers. Estimated 1500 sewer workers or more have lost their lives since the ban on manual scavenging was imposed in 2013. According to the latest data by IndiaSpend, a data journalism initiative, as many as 102 workers died in 2017 alone while cleaning sewer lines. Additionally, nearly 23,000 men and women in India die every year doing various kinds of sanitation work. These numbers point to a grave state of affairs in the country, which Genrobotic Innovations aims to mitigate through their innovative technological solution. In addition to addressing the safety of workers, the team also envisions a better quality of life for workers by educating and equipping them to operate Bandicoot.
We are extremely proud to share that the team at Genrobotic Innovations recently launched the fully automated version Bandicoot 2.0, on 2nd October 2018, at the recently held Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) in New Delhi in the presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres.
IIGP 2.0 is proud to recognize and support social innovations such as Bandicoot that have the potential to improve the quality of life of the marginalized communities and create lasting social impact. We wish the team at the Genrobotic Innovations all the success in their incredible journey and look forward to working with them.