In the land of coconut trees, Kerala is seeing a decrease in the number of tree climbers. This is owing to a number of reasons — more workers are migrating towards steady office jobs over a job that comes with mighty risk. Many climbers are often grievously hurt after falling from large coconut trees.
To find a solution to this, Kochi-native Charles Vijay Varghese’s startup Nava Design & Innovation Pvt Ltd has come up with an innovation of SAPER — the “world’s first coconut sap tapping robot”.
To collect toddy from a single coconut tree, a labourer has to climb up the tree at least 270 times. But SAPER brings down this number to two — once for installation, and once to dismantle.
Varghese says the agri-tech startup, founded in 2016, works toward bringing AI and robotics in the agricultural sector.
Once the robot is fixed on the tree, it cuts and collects toddy from the tree, and has a “centralised closed collection technology” which enables it to collect “fresh and contamination-free sap from multiple trees”. The device works on AI and solar energy, and leaves zero carbon footprint.
Verghese says this innovation can help climbers work safely, and coconut farmers gain more profits with less effort. SAPER has won patents in 28 countries including India. It also bagged the National Startups Awards in 2020.
Watch the robot create magic:
Edited by Divya Sethu
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