In a 5 minute video, the creators of Bandicoot share how their love for ironman lead to the creation of the manhole cleaning robot.

The making of Bandicoot Kerala startups robot that could end manual scavenging
news Startup Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 09:40

Two years ago, GenRobotics, a Kerala based tech start-up was the talk of the town because of the product they had just launched. ‘Bandicoot’ was the first of its kind exoskeleton robot in the country that cleaned manholes without the need for human beings having to enter the pits. Their invention made waves in the state due to its huge potential social impact against manual scavenging – a practice banned in India nearly two decades ago, yet actively practiced in almost every state. 

Thanks to the Bandicoot, sanitary workers would be able to stop endangering their lives on a daily basis. They did not have to enter clogged manholes filled with hazardous gases. Instead, all they needed to do was learn how to operate the robot and it would do the dirty work for them.

The start-up, which was founded in 2015, received a lot of praise. Today, the 5 enginnering graduates responsible for bringing ‘Bandicoot’ into the world share their experiences through a video. 

In the 5-minute video posted by the Chief Minister’s official Facebook Page, Bandicoot’s creators tell us how an ambitious ironman suit they created while in college paved wave for the birth of Kerala’s favourite robot. 

“We gathered a few like-minded people in college and followed our passion in the free time we had after seminars and assignments. This led to the creation of an iron-man suit (generation one). This suit became a huge hit in college and among teachers. After we graduated, we all went our separate ways and worked different jobs. However, none of us were very happy,” says Nikhil NP, cofounder of GenRobotics in the video.

The team then received a call from Kerala IT Secretary, M Sivasankaran, asking them to develop a robotic system to clean manholes. 

“We quit our jobs and decided to design this robot. However, it was not so easy a task. It was very complicated,” said Rashid Bin Abdulla, cofounder of GenRobotics. 

With the government’s assistance, we were provided the resources for our company as well as the space in TechnoPark, Thiruvananthapuram. 

The team did a fair amount of research and understood the issue of manual scanvenging in detail.  

“In Kerala, over 500 of them are still involved in this job,” says Rashid.  

“We had to show a prototype to convince the government that our model will be successful. Then we were facing some financial constraints, so we used parts of our ironman suit to create the first prototype,” says Arun.

The team soon got selected as the first start-up innovator by the Kerala Water Authority. This certificate was handed over to them in the presence of CM Pinarayi Vijayan. 

However, this story of success does not stop here. The team wants to eliminate manual scanvenging in Kerala and hopefully the whole of India in the years to come.

Watch full video here. 

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