Researchers have developed an interactive trash can that can be installed in hospitals and medical centers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic for non-contact waste collection and treatment, thereby providing a safer environment for front-line workers .
Researchers from Punjab’s Lovely Professional University (LPU) said that the dumpster named Ally will follow voice commands and automatically move on a predetermined path within a controlled environment.
They said that the three-foot-tall, 1.5-foot-wide smart container performs non-contact collection by automatically opening the shutter.
The researchers explained that the sensory system checks the current status or level of the trash can and initiates the disposal process after the trash can fills up with a predetermined threshold.
Researchers say that allies can move to the disposal center autonomously, dispose of the waste and prepare it for reuse.
Executive Officer Lovi Raj Gupta said: “Under the current circumstances, smart trash cans can play a vital role in collecting waste and leftover food, especially in sensitive areas such as isolated areas, where human workers are appointed to carry out Waste collection and disposal may cause infection.” The dean of the LPU School of Science and Technology told PTI.
Gupta explained: “Ally can be summoned easily using voice commands. For example, if medical staff want to collect some garbage, they only need to say: “Ally, go to bed 18. “
He pointed out that the trash can immediately responds to voice commands and uses its indoor map algorithm to move it to various locations.
The researchers used Raspberry Pi (a small computer the size of a credit card) and Atmega 2560 (a low-power microcontroller in the trash can).
After garbage collection, the garbage bin returns to the predefined original location by itself.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that best practices for the safe management of medical waste should be followed, including the allocation of responsibilities and sufficient human and material resources to safely dispose of such waste.
However, the WHO stated that there is no evidence that direct, unprotected human contact during the treatment of medical waste has caused the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The researchers said that Ally has been conceptualized and developed with the support of a $1 million fund set up by LPU to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
Research team, including B. Tech. Three-year students Prabin Kumar Das, Vanka Vinaya Kumar and KM Vaishnavi Gupta, as well as Professor Rajesh Singh and Professor Anita Gehlot said that their prototype has been successfully tested in the university.
The prototype price is Rs. 20,000, but the team is now looking for industrial partners to realize its commercialization and expects the price to drop by nearly 25%.
They said that the final product is expected to be ready for deployment within two months of obtaining industry partners.