A former plumber in Madurai, southern India, has developed a robot that can save little children trapped in borewells. Last month the innovation by the plumber turned instructor, Mr M. Manikandan at the TVS Community College in the temple town rescued a three-year-old boy who had fallen into a tube well in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu. (Video).
"It is a hand operated simple device with a built in camera that streams images from the depth. The operator can manoeuvre the robot's arms to lift the child," he said.
"I wouldn't mind if this is not used, but for these accidents there should be a device. I feel proud to say this is India's invention. I forgot all my worries when we rescued a child for the first time," Mr Manikandan added.
Over the last five years at least six children lost their lives in abandoned borewells in Tamil Nadu. Now experts in Tamil Nadu are reviewing the device for use by the fire and rescue department. Mr Ramesh Kuduwla, the ADGP of The Fire and Rescue Department says, "We will evaluate the device and then take a call."
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The Assistant Director Mr Srinivasan at the TVS Community College which supports his mission, said, "We are sending our students and faculty wherever he wants to go as he is doing a social service. We are helping with financial help to procure modern equipment like a camera and vacuum pump."
Mr Manikandan is not seeking a patent. He just wants to save lives.