From automated truck loading to kitchen gloves

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During the pandemic lockdown, as more and more men shared household chores, Venkatesh Prasad used the extra time he had at home to design an automated glove for cleaning utensils. The glove is equipped with sensors, a soap dispenser and a rotary scrubber, and draws water from a bucket powered by a motor and cables.
Venkatesh says the mitt provides spotless cleaning – better than most dishwashers – optimal use of water and cuts cleaning time in half. His innovation appealed not only to his wife, but also to TCS, where Venkatesh is responsible for product design, manufacturing and smart machines. CDS later filed a patent for the device.

Venkatesh has created more than 130 products, special purpose machines, complex tooling and fixtures, and has filed 110 worldwide patents. He completed his bachelor’s degree in industrial and production engineering from BMS College in Bangalore and then completed a product development course at Stanford University, USA. Robotics had always piqued his interest, and early in his career he began developing hand-held tools, equipment at the end of a robotic arm that interacts with parts and components.
At TCS, where he has worked for more than 20 years now, one of Venkatesh’s prized patents relates to an automated truck loading and unloading system. In warehouses, a 40ft container truck is usually loaded with around 3,000 cardboard boxes, an extremely laborious and expensive process. The TCS system has a robotic pick and place system in conjunction with a telescopic conveyor which is installed on telescopic rails, and all of this is mounted on a mobile robot. When a truck arrives, the door opens and this telescopic system begins to load the parcels. The main advantage of the system over competing systems is that it allows a robotic arm controlled by a sensor to move inside the truck without contacting it. Thus, it is suitable even for small trucks with limited payload capacity and guarantees an efficient and error-free process.
“Anyone can innovate. All it takes is an “I can do” attitude, says Venkatesh. When you have an idea, he says, you have to be open to collaboration. “Discuss with others, don’t be afraid to take other people’s point of view,” he says.
He suggests that you should keep working on a number of ideas. “Think about whether it’s success or failure. Don’t give up if there are failures early on. Failure at the beginning is learning. An idea can also end in failure, but it doesn’t It’s okay,” he says. Over time, he says, you need to mature by continually learning to a stage where you visualize ideas that will have a big impact.
“Most of my patented products are also made, and it makes me happy to see them moving materials around Europe and other countries,” says Venkatesh, who during the Covid lockdown also created an e-trike foldable that can go inside the x-ray baggage scanner at subway stations, potentially making commuting from home to office hassle-free.

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