We caught up with Mr.Irfan Vakkayil who is one of the founders of Fenbits Technology Solutions.
Fenbits is an emerging start-up company offering effective, lower-cost, robust methods in the field of water pollution control, river cleaning and environmental conservation.
Here is the interview with - Mr.Irfan Vakkayil
1. Welcome Irfan. Tell us something about you and your robots?
Hi, I am Irfan, a recent engineering graduate. Currently, one of the founders of Fenbits Technology Solutions . Fenbits is a cleantech startup based in India and UAE. It all started with our passion for clean waters.
'After six months of rigorous effort and hard work by a very ardent team we developed Fenbot which turned out to be India's first aquatic robot for water quality monitoring and pollutant tracking'.
As times changed we noticed the drastic effects of pollution in our natural water bodies and set on our quest to find a solution. We started by developing a robot that can assist in tracking pollutants in water and ended up with a smart solution to clean aquatic trash.
There are two types of pollutants in water.
1. Macro pollutants ( visible to naked eye )
3. Micro pollutants (pathogens, dissolved chemicals etc)
Our first challenge was to develop an autonomous floating robot which can analyze what kind of pollutant we are dealing with, the extent and origin. After six months of rigorous effort and hard work by a very ardent team we developed Fenbot which turned out to be India's first aquatic robot for water quality monitoring and pollutant tracking.
This robot tests pollution levels in rivers, generates 3D maps (pH, DO, Turbidity, Temperature, Nutrients) and collects more than 60 water sample results per minute. The prototype was first tested in December 2016, and successfully conducted three major survey's for the Government of Kerala.
Followed by success of Fenbot, we found that most of the pollutants were aquatic trash largely made up of plastic harming our marine life. We then extended our product to clean these pollutants using unmanned assistance and thats how Bluephin came to life.
Bluephin is an intelligent autonomous waste collecting robot powered by AI. They collect upto 350 kg of trash in 2 hours, and does not emit carbon when working in water. Bluephin can operate as swarm of robots for increased trash collection capacity.
'We faced a lot of challenges from the very beginning. But I am a firm believer that without facing challenges we don’t find our true definition as entrepreneurs'.
With 16 hours endurance. Bluephin is also equipped with a smart waste basket and an automatic lid that closes when the basket is full of trash. Thus providing a more effective and efficient waste collection system.
2. Mostly students strive for jobs or higher education. What made you take the leap into business?
I think there is a lot of opportunity in doing business than getting a job or going for higher studies. For me it's about following my passion and at the meantime finding potential customers and delivering services.
3. What are the early challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?
We faced a lot of challenges from the very beginning. But I am a firm believer that without facing challenges we don’t find our true definition as entrepreneurs. Some of they key problems which we came across are mentorship and adequate funding. It was difficult to find pioneers in our field. So we relied much on international journals, research materials, and DIY videos.
'MieRobot is a must read platform for all robotic enthusiasts . There is a good track record of all current trends in the industry. A good place for beginners especially students to enhance their robotic skills and engage with excellent mentors'.
4. What is the technical stack for your robot (BluePin/Fenbots)? (Example# ROS with Kinematics, LibrePilot FCB etc with C++)
BLUEPHINS and FENBOT are primarily developed by integrating Unmanned Systems technology, robotics, marine construction and water treatment methods. The common programming languages we use includes C++ (for Micro-controllers), Python (for process dynamics and control).
We also use OpenCV for object detection.
5.If you had to do your engineering again – which subject would you study as there is no tomorrow?
Well, that's a hard one. I think I would study Mechatronics after seeing its power in application.
6. What is your message and tips for young students round the world who wish to make robots/be in robotics?
The scope and applications of robotics is limitless. Not a lot of fields combine creativity with technology unlike robotics does. Of course there are a lot of challenges that beginners face in robotics . But don't be disappointed or discouraged. We live in the information age. All you need is to ask and find out. The more you seek the more you learn.
7.What is your view/message about MieRobot?
MieRobot is a must read platform for all robotic enthusiasts . There is a good track record of all current trends in the industry. A good place for beginners especially students to enhance their robotic skills and engage with excellent mentors.
About Author: About Author: Anirban runs an EduTech startup brand called MieRobot.com which provides on-campus employability solutions in areas of Machine learning, AI, UX,Data Science, Robotics and Product Management. You can say him a hello at email@example.com