As of 30 March, Covid-19 has claimed over 33,000 lives across the world, with more than 1000 cases testing positive in India. As health experts, scientists and innovators work round the clock to develop a cure to end the deadly outbreak, IIT alumnus, Debayan Saha and Dr Shashi Ranjan have come up with a device that could possibly restrict the spread of COVID-19.
Called the ‘Airlens Minus Corona’, the human-shaped robot can sterilise streets and public places like hospitals, bus stops, railway stations, shopping malls. The machine discharges charged/ionised water droplets to sterilise surfaces that can potentially cause the spread of coronavirus.
This technology, however, is not new and is currently being used in Vietnam.
“The charged or ionised water droplets can kill the virus by deactivating viruses by denaturing their protein coat. In other words, the droplets help in the oxidation (one of the most potent antimicrobial tool) of viral proteins into non-harmful molecules,” explains Saha who along with Dr Ranjan, has also invented two devices to fight air pollution, the PM Minus 2.5 that curbs vehicle pollution and Airlens, a car sanitiser.
Dr Ranjan learnt about the power of oxidation during his scientific research at NUS in Singapore, “I realised that oxidation is one of the most potent antimicrobial tools which can sterilise the entire city. Our technology uses an optimal combination of electric energy and water atomisation techniques to induce a charge on water droplets while creating Hydroxyl radicals that can oxidise and kill the coronavirus.”
Saha believes that the electrifying water method works like the bigger version of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, “The sanitisers are useful in lessening the threat of catching the coronavirus just like our machine. Through this machine, we can arrest the virus and may flatten the curve.”
Working Continuously During Lockdown
Saha is currently stuck in Kolkata due to the lockdown and Dr Shashi is in Delhi. But, the duo did not let the lockdown stop them from going forward with their vision, instead it propelled them to move ahead as planned. They created prototypes of the machine at their respective places with the resources they could procure.
They have submitted a proposal to the Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body under the Department of Science & Technology, to test their device and are currently awaiting a response from them.
“We are not selling the device as it is for the betterment of society. We want more engineers across India developing similar machines that can help fight Covid-19,” says Saha.
With the help of team members, Saha and Ranjan are currently working on manufacturing ten more devices by next week. However, they are running out of raw materials and space due to the lockdown and need help from various stakeholders like manufacturing companies of materials and authorities to source the same.
If you have any leads that can help Saha and Dr Shashi, contact them here.
Edited By Saiqua Sultan