Last August, when a six-year-old boy fell into a 300-feet deep borewell in Bagalkot, all efforts by experts of the Hutti Gold Mine and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) went in vain. They were able to retrieve the body only after a few days.
The harrowing incident set a group of three students from APS Polytechnic to work. They have now developed a robotic instrument to rescue kids who fall into open borewells.
Ever since the first-such incident reported from Kurukshetra, where Army personnel rescued a six-year-old Prince from a borewell in 2006, a common rescue strategy has been adapted in most cases – digging a parallel borewell and tunnel at the point where the child is suspected to be stuck. This consumes time and makes rescue operations laborious.
The robotic instrument developed by these students – Sharath Babu L., Dhanush Kumar A. and Giridhara G. – uses a pneumatic cylinder and a compressor to create a vertical movement where the robotic arms equipped with an air balloon helps lift the child from the borewell.
The equipment is fitted with a high-definition camera and oxygen meter which are first let into the borewell. After determining the exact position of the child, the pneumatic cylinder is lowered into the borewell and the robotic arms pick up the child a bit, after which an air balloon inflates below the child, preventing it from falling further down. The compressor-aided pneumatic cylinder is then lifted up along with the child.
Sharath Babu told The Hindu that they built the prototype of the instrument from scrap material and disused materials in their college. “The production of the robotic arm comes up to Rs. 2.83 lakh. This is a pittance compared to the huge costs involved in rescue operations of such cases,” Dhanush Kumar chips in.
The prototype was exhibited at Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum as part of an engineering fair held recently. The students, who want to carry on with their engineering studies, dream of industrially manufacturing the instrument one day.
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