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North-Eastern Hill University Develops Technology That Can Sanitise 1,000 Books in a Day

Research Associate, Vinayak Majhi and his team comprising of four students focused their attention on making a prototype called 'Auto Book Sanitizing Composite Machine' or 'ABSCoM' to help libraries lend and safely keep books. (Image: News18)

Research Associate, Vinayak Majhi and his team comprising of four students focused their attention on making a prototype called 'Auto Book Sanitizing Composite Machine' or 'ABSCoM' to help libraries lend and safely keep books. (Image: News18)

The machine comprises two racks which can hold 150 books. It uses the combined technology of ultraviolet rays and controlled heat exposure. The UV sanitises the outer cover of the book while high temperature negates the viruses inside the book.

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Niloy Bhattacherjee

The North-eastern Hill University (NEHU) of Meghalaya has developed new cost-effective technology that can sanitise 1000 books per day using ultraviolet rays and controlled heat exposure.

Researchers at the Department of Bio-Science, NEHU said that while most types of equipment use ultra violet rays, they only help in sanitising the outer cover of the books. "If the inner pages of the book need to be exposed to UV, then a 1,000-page book would need 500 exposures. This also means an investment of 500 minutes or nine to ten hours to sanitise a single book," said Research Associate, Vinayak Majhi.

Majhi and his team comprising of four students focused their attention on making a prototype called 'Auto Book Sanitizing Composite Machine' or 'ABSCoM' to help libraries lend and safely keep books.

The machine comprises two racks which can hold 150 books. It uses the combined technology of ultraviolet rays and controlled heat exposure. The UV sanitises the outer cover of the book while high temperature negates the viruses inside the book. "Ten studies have shown that the overall thermal disinfection at 60 degrees Celcius for 30 minutes, 65 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes and 80 degrees Celcius for one minute has proved effective to reduce coronavirus infectivity strongly," Majhi said.

As the direct heat would char the book, ABSCoM uses a heated environment instead. Hot air creates an environment of 60 to 65 degrees where the book has to stay for fifteen to twenty-five minutes. Further details about the device will be released once authorities approve the patent for the technology, NEHU said.

However, the machine has been installed at NEHU's central library to meet the demands of over 2,500 students amid the covid-19 situation. The prototype is described as user-friendly and cost-effective. The recurring cost of sanitising per book is at 20-30 paise.

The demand for such a technology was first addressed by Dr F R Sumer, the varsity's Librarian in-charge. At the entrance of the library, shelves with UV equipped lights and automated doors are kept where students can leave the books issued by them. The books then are collected and processed in the ABSCoM.

Majhi said that equipment which operates similar to a hairdryer needs to be handled as per protocols. "Steps to be taken while handling the device such as how to arrange the books, when to take the books out needs to be clear for those who will be using. While the machine is automated, it can be operated manually as well," he added.

Although ABSCoM was built on a no-profit no-loss model, the team said they are open to mass production or customising the device based on the feedback and demand through startups. While it can sanitise books and papers, the device can be remodelled to sanitise currencies, letters and parcels, especially in banks and post offices.

Besides Majhi, Ashit Kumar Baruah, Richman Khwanniang, Assem Sinha and Sudip Paul from the department of Bio-Science and Basic Science and Social Sciences of the university collaborated to build the prototype.


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