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,
told PTI that “UV-Astra will prove to be the best affordable
personal protection weapon against the virus.”
“Ultra-violet light is known to disinfect properties.
Our solution uses a very low-power UV ligh that does not cause
any harm. The pocket-sized device, with a sterilisation rate
of 99.9 per cent, 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 for
the device, which weighs less than 10 grams and is about three
‘Astra’ in Hindi means a weapon to attack the enemy,
and this device has been named ‘UV-Astra’ as it would aid in
the 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 to
protect 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 the IIT-Guwahati community, comprising faculty, staff, students, and alumni, is working tirelessly to develop innovative solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The institute is continuously pushing limits and
thriving hard to serve the nation by developing innovative and
affordable products to fight COVID-19, in line with Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make the country self-
reliant (Atmanirbhar Bharat),” he added.