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IIT Guwahati Students Develop Pocket-sized Device 'UV-Astra' to Sanitise Surfaces

By: News18.com

News18.com

Last Updated: August 03, 2020, 10:28 IST

IIT Guwahati students developed 'UV Astra', a pocket sized device that can sanitise surfaces to help fight COVID-19 | Image credit: File Photo of IITG/Twitter

IIT Guwahati students developed 'UV Astra', a pocket sized device that can sanitise surfaces to help fight COVID-19 | Image credit: File Photo of IITG/Twitter

The pocket-sized device called UV-Astra with a sterilisation rate of 99.9 percent, is for personal use and can be powered by mobile phones.

The fear of contracting COVID-19 from touching surfaces have prompted many of us to clean doorknobs and wipe elevator keys, but all that could soon be a thing of the past as two IIT-Guwahati students have now claimed to have built a device that could disinfect objects.

'UV-Astra', a nano Ultra-Violet (UV) device, can kill viruses and bacteria and sterilise surfaces within three seconds, its creators Anant Mittal and Shubham Yennawar, both civil engineering students at the institute, insisted. Mittal, who has applied for a patent for the device, said that "UV-Astra will prove to be the best affordable personal protection weapon against the virus."

It could also disinfect Personal Protection Equipment(PPE) for reuse, he said. "Ultra-violet light is known to disinfect properties. Our solution uses a very low-power UV light that does not cause any harm.

The pocket-sized device, with a sterilisation rate of 99.9 percent, is for personal use and can be powered by mobile phones. It has a service life of 5,000 hours," he said. Mittal, who runs a tech startup Racerfly, said it took the two of them several weeks to come up with the module forthe device, which weighs less than 10 grams and is about three centimeters long. 'Astra' in Hindi means a weapon to attack the enemy, and this device has been named 'UV-Astra' as it would aid inthe fight against viruses and bacteria, Mittal said.

The challenge was to make UV sterilization handy and affordable for all and after many trials "we came up with this device which looks like a pen drive with a hard metal case toprotect the module", the civil engineering student explained.

"UV-Astra is set to become the new normal. It is an all-time protection device. Now no one needs to worry about touching surfaces when he or she steps out of homes," he said. Mittal's RacerFly team had earlier developed a drone that has an automatic sprayer embedded in it and can sanitise large areas including parks and footpaths within 15 minutes.

T G Sitharam, the director of the institute, said theIIT-Guwahati community, comprising faculty, staff, students and alumni, is working tirelessly to develop innovativesolutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"The institute is continuously pushing limits andthriving hard to serve the nation by developing innovative and affordable products to fight COVID-19, in line with PrimeMinister Narendra Modi's vision to make the country self- reliant (Atmanirbhar Bharat)," he added.

This is not the first innovation to come from students and researchers of IIT Guwahati.

Earlier in June, IIT-G students had developed an app 'Flyzy' to make travel easier during COVID-19, Researchers from the institute along with students had also helped develop low-cost testing kits to help fight te coronavirus pandemic.

Large-scale production of such kits has already started to mee the requirements of Assam and would soon be made available to all states across the country.

(With inputs from PTI)