A team at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has developed a low-cost LED-based machine which can be used for disinfection of floors at hospitals as well as buses and trains to aid the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
IIT Guwahati is also filing a patent for the machine, which when commercialised, will be available at a cost of Rs. 1,000. The current prototype of the machine, requires to be manually manned, however, the team is working on making it a robot manned machine which requires limited human intervention.
The machine developed at a request from the Karnataka government, to be used in its hospitals and buses, will now be pitched to other governments for commercial usage.
"Sanitisation of public places is going to be very very crucial in coming months when movements will not be restricted but due precautions will need to be taken to prevent the spread of virus. As of now, the disinfection measures are only being taken on surfaces, walls and open areas and there is no system yet for sanitisation of floors unless someone decides to manually mop the floor using an alcohol-based cleaner," Senthilmurugan Subbiah, Associate Professor at the institute''s Department of Chemical Engineering, told PTI.
"UVC system is a proven technology to sanitize the microorganism infected non-porous surface. 90 per cent killing rate can be achieved by UVC for one of the highly stable virus MS-2 Coliphase with 186 J dose, whereas 36 J dose is needed for Influenza virus which is similar to COVID-19.
"The team has developed a UVC LED system capable of providing 400 J dose in 30 seconds, such that virus-infected surface will be sanitized. The unique design of this UVC system will ensure uniform exposure in virus-infected non-porous area," he added.
The machine, which has been tested at the institute''s laboratory, is also equipped with an object movement identification feature so that UVC exposure to human skin is avoided during the operation.
"We are working closely with government agencies and industrial partners to develop several other smart and low cost technologies to fight against COVID-19," Subbiah said.
The death toll due to novel coronavirus rose to 114 and the number of cases in the country climbed to 4,421 on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
While the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 3,981, as many as 325 people were cured and discharged, and one had migrated, it stated. The total number of cases include 66 foreign nationals.