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Kochi Man invented ‘World’s First’ Robot that became helping hand for farmers

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Sep 22, 2022 7:00 AM

Read Time: 1 minute

Kerala, the land of coconut trees, is seeing a decline in the number of tree climbers. This is due to a variety of factors, including the fact that more workers prefer stable office jobs to jobs with high risk. Many climbers are severely injured after falling from large coconut trees.

To address this, Kochi-native Charles Vijay Varghese's startup Nava Design & Innovation Pvt Ltd has developed SAPER — the "world's first coconut sap tapping robot."

A labourer must climb up a single coconut tree at least 270 times to collect toddy. However, SAPER reduces this number to two — once for installation and once for dismantling.

According to Varghese, the agri-tech startup, founded in 2016, works to bring AI and robotics to the agricultural sector. Once attached to the tree, the robot cuts and collects toddy from it, and it has "centralised closed collection technology" that allows it to collect "fresh and contamination-free sap from multiple trees." The device is powered by AI and solar energy, and it emits no greenhouse gases.

According to Verghese, this innovation can help climbers work safely and coconut farmers earn more money with less effort. SAPER has received patents in 28 different countries, including India. In addition, it won the National Startups Awards in 2020.

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