IIT Guwahati continues developing affordable and innovative products to fight COVID-19

Guwahati: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is leading the fight against novel coronavirus. The Institute’s community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni are working tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are developing innovative solutions to address sanitation and precaution concerns amid the pandemic with a set of affordable and innovative products.

The Institute has developed:

1. Low-cost heat-based Sanitizer Trunk

2. Injection Mould for mass manufacturing of Face Shield

3. Disinfectant Tunnel

4. Universal Foot Operated Hand Sanitization System

5. High-grade quality of Face Shields

Talking about the innovations that are being developed by the Institute’s community, Dr. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “The Institute is continuously pushing the limits and thriving hard to serve the nation by developing innovative and affordable products to fight COVID-19 and is in line with the announcement by the Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s call for making the country self-reliant (Atmanirbhar Bharat). The Institute community and its alumni are taking up the challenge to convert this time of crisis into an opportunity to serve society and will continuously work to contribute to the masses in this time of pandemic so that vital products that are necessary for hospitals, offices, schools and colleges, private establishments to keep the population safe and secure are readily available at a reasonable cost. I congratulate all the innovators and incubatees of Technology Incubation Center (TIC) of IITG.

1. Low-cost heat-based Sanitizer Trunk

A student’s team under the supervision of Dr. Uday Shanker Dixit, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, has designed a heat-based sanitizer trunk for disinfecting clothes, papers, leather items, belt, currency notes, wallets etc.

According to the team and various studies, the virus cannot withstand high temperature. According to one study, a temperature of 70° C is sufficient to kill coronavirus. Flu viruses are killed at 75°C.

The team has developed designs of low-cost sanitizer trunk of different sizes. A small sized sanitizer trunk has been developed for sanitizing the masks, wallets, currency notes etc. The cost for making this trunk is only about Rs. 50/-. A 90 cm×45 cm×36 cm trunk may cost around Rs. 300/-.

These sanitizer trunks work on the principle of thermal heating along with some amount of ultraviolet rays. The procedure is to place the objects to be sanitized for about 15 minutes in the sanitizer trunk. The temperature of the trunk is about 85°C.

This has been developed by Mr. N.K. Das, Mr. Dilip Chetri and Mr. L. Gogoi of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, under the supervision of Prof. Dixit.

2. Injection Mould for mass manufacturing of Face Shield

IIT Guwahati faculty, Dr. Supradip Das, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, has developed an injection mould for mass manufacturing of face shield to cater to the needs of the hospitals.

The injection moulded face shield is lightweight, approximately 25 gm. It is recyclable or reusable and autoclavable. The face shield is not porous. Many of the products available are made of sponge or foam sheet. Objects made up of these materials are highly porous, there are gaps between layers and those areas are perfect hiding spots for germs.

The faculty has planned to produce 10,000 pieces of the face shield. So far, he has supplied 3,000 pieces to doctors, organisations and hospitals.

3. Disinfectant Tunnel

Vixudha Bio Product Pvt. Ltd., a startup incubated at IIT Guwahati, in collaboration with Oasis Fabrications, has designed and developed Disinfectant Tunnel (DT).

Dr. Mihir Kumar Purkait, Head of Centre for the Environment, and Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, and Dr. Prabir Kumar Saha, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, are leading the startup.

Disinfectant tunnel is a full-body disinfection chamber meant to decontaminate the personnel at a time. High-pressure nozzles spray the disinfectant fluid in fine mist occupying the whole chamber; this fluid disrupts the protein structure of microorganisms on the surface, thus killing them eventually. The spraying continues for a set time of 7 seconds.

The operation cost is less, about Rs 2 per person and the volume of fluid sprayed in one cycle is 25 ml. The footprint of the disinfectant tunnel is 3 feet x 6 feet and can be easily installed at confined spaces. Height of the tunnel is maintained at 8 feet.

This innovation can be used in hospitals, office buildings, residential societies, food markets, school, colleges, bus stands, cinema halls, malls, etc.

4. Universal Foot Operated Hand Sanitization System

It is a hands-free foot-operated hand cleaning and sanitization system. The system is low-cost, easy to use, energy-efficient, zero electrical energy use and electronic freehand sanitization system that can be operated by foot. This mechanism uses the actuator in the press system of a hand sanitization bottle to piping out the sanitizer liquid towards palms.

Healthcare workers, as well as public, sanitizes hands on a regular basis. However, if a contaminated hand touches the body or actuator of the spray unit it is likely to contaminate the sanitization system. Thus, there was an urgent need of a system which will avoid touching of sanitizer bottle by hand to prevent contamination. This system will reduce the risk of transmission through contaminated hands to a great extent.

This foot operable hands-free sanitization system is universal as because any size of hand sanitizer bottle from 4 inch to 9 inch height (100 ml to 1000 ml capacity) can be fit into the system. The low-cost system is constructed with readily available construction materials and no complex mechanism has been used.

The innovation is developed by Dr. Arun Chandra Borsaikia, of the Department of Civil Engineering.

5. High-grade quality of Face Shields

Mr. Himujjall Sarmah, an Industrial Designer and an alumnus of IIT Guwahati, has manufactured high-grade quality of Face Shields to fulfil the need for face shields locally for the hospitals in Assam and Northeast India. His design company, Izake Design and Consultancy Private Limited, is currently incubated at IIT Guwahati Incubation Centre and supported by Northeast Venture Fund, by NEDFI, Guwahati.

The company has designed digitally fabricated, via a CNC router, face shield that can be cut and assembled in 3 minutes. These face shields are better, faster and cheaper in production. So far, they have successfully manufactured and distributed around 12,000 Face Protection Shields to about 650 Doctors/Hospitals/Nursing staff and individuals throughout Assam. They have also donated 2000 Face Shields to Government officials/NGOs/GMCH-Guwahati for COVID-19 response.

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