Home BIG STORY Odisha innovator develops smart device that detects hygiene levels

Odisha innovator develops smart device that detects hygiene levels


Bhubaneswar:  Meet Aurobinda Routray from Odisha, a professor at IIT-Kharagpur in the department of Electrical Engineering, who has developed a device that can virtually sniff dirt around you. The low-cost dirt detector can help the authorities of keeping public facilities clean and hygienic at all times.

The device called Smart Hygiene Monitor (SHM) records levels of ammonia, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter through sensors and sends online alerts to stakeholders when it hits threshold levels.

The newly-developed device can be installed at any place where cleanliness needs to be monitored at frequent intervals.

Aurobinda, a native of Kalikapur village in Cuttack district, headed the five-member team at the premier institute which created the device.

Explaining in detail about the device to OST, he said it (SHM) can help reduce use of water, manpower, harmful cleaning agents by alerting authorities to clean the space of facilities as an when required.

“The cost of product will be less than Rs 5, 000,” Aurobinda added.

We all know necessity is the mother of invention. The idea to innovate the cleaning technology struck Aurobinda when he went to a restroom of a premier government college in Bhubaneswar in 2005 and was shocked to find it as stinky as hell.

This prompted him to develop an instrument that would come handy in addressing the issue.

Aurobinda took around two years to complete the project. “We started it around February 1015 and got it done by January 2017,” said the researcher.

“This device detects dirt and level of hygiene in a room with the help of sensors and sends data to the stakeholders through cloud,” the researcher said, adding that the setup cost for a 20-sq ft area would be less than Rs 5, 000.

Designed to keep people up-to-date about the cleanness status of their room, the device works like a traffic signal – the ‘green light’ indicates ‘clean space’ and while the ‘red light’ means the facility or space needs urgent cleaning.

The device has been developed using an embedded platform incorporated with sensors that are connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). The threshold level for each sensor has been set as per the levels stipulated in the air quality index given by SAFAR-India (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research).

The device can keep the environment pollution free as one can do away with heavy usage of chemicals for cleaning. “It’s immensely helpful at airports, shopping malls, corporate offices where cleaners mechanically go on cleaning toilets and other areas frequently. This leads to wastage of water and other cleaning resources like chemicals, which have environmental hazards.  If this device will be used in such places, wastage of water can be avoided to a great extent,” Aurobinda explained.

Currently, a lab prototype of SHM will undergo multiple levels of field trials to evaluate its efficiency.

Speaking about how his innovation will be helpful for big cities, Aurobinda said the device can be very useful for a city like Bhubaneswar where so many dustbins are placed and it will minimize the manpower, time and cost of keeping it clean.

Aurobinda has 22 years of research and teaching experience. He has B.Sc Engineering from N.I.T. Rourkela, MTech from IIT Kanpur, PhD from Sambalpur University and Post Doc from the Purdue University. He has 7 patents in this name and got several awards and recognition.

Aurobinda had received the Young Scientist Award by Orissa Bigyan Academy in 2001.