Shiv Kampani, a 17-year-old from Mumbai Cleans Human Waste Remotely, his robot Can Help End Manual Scavenging

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Shiv Kampani pipe cleaning robot

Manual scavenging refers to workers climbing into and cleaning human waste from sewer pipes with their bare hands. It is an extremely dehumanizing profession and results in hundreds of deaths every year. Moreover, this issue is inextricably linked to caste: only members of scheduled castes and underserved communities are forced into this profession.

“To address this problem, I built the Pipe Cleaner, a robot able to navigate and clean sewer pipes of diameter 20-40 cm. I tested it inside a makeshift pipe from a hardened veneer sheet.”Shiv Kampani told to Robotics India.

Shiv Kampani, a 17-year-old from Mumbai Cleans Human Waste Remotely, his robot Can Help End Manual Scavenging
Shiv Kampani, a 17-year-old from Mumbai Cleans Human Waste Remotely, his robot Can Help End Manual Scavenging
Technical Details

The Pipe Cleaner is made of easily available, inexpensive materials including a 3D printed chassis, PVC pipes and aluminum plates for reinforcement. It uses three arms connected by pivots to a central shaft. L-shaped springs exert force on the inner wall of the pipe. This creates traction that prevents the robot from slipping. The pulley operated brush is continuously rotated by a 10 RPM DC motor. The robot is powered by 7.4 V Lithium Polymer Batteries, has an estimated battery life of approximately 3.5 hours and travels at approximately 9.4 cm per second. I used the ESP-3266 WiFi chip to control my this robot wirelessly.

“I presented my project to the Municipal Commissioner of BMC. I have also discussed my idea with officials from the sewerage engineering and operations department of BMC. Using their feedback, I am working on an improved iteration which I hope to implement in actual sewer pipes instead of makeshift ones.”Shiv Kampani ,told to Robotics India.

Student Shiv Kampani from Mumbai has innovated a robotic brush to clean out human waste from drains, pipes and sewers in a bid to bring manual scavenging to an end. Shiv Kampani, a 17-year-old from Mumbai, has become an inspiration to several budding innovators, with his effort to find a solution to manual scavenging.

The practice, though banned by law, still exists in many parts of the country, and requires the manual cleaning, disposing, or handling of human waste from sewers, without any protective equipment. This poses serious health risks and concerns to the workers. To help end this demeaning practice, young Shiv has built a robot that can clean human waste from drains, pipes and sewers. Named ‘The Pipe Cleaner’, this robotic cleaning brush can work with hardly any human intervention. It can be built using easily accessible and inexpensive materials, hence making it cost-effective, Shiv says. His innovation has now been shared with Mumbai’s sewage management department and has already been tested in sewerage pipes, he adds.

Shiv Kampani pipe cleaning robot | Shiv Kampani, a 17-year-old from Mumbai Cleans Human Waste Remotely, his robot Can Help End Manual Scavenging

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