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IIT Madras seeks solutions to create a Stored Energy Solar Cook Stove and Robot capable of waste segregation for the Shaastra Social Innovation Challenge Award 2011

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras will be holding 13th edition of Shaastra, the technical festival of this premier institution, between September 28th and October 2nd. Shaastra 2011 will extend its focus on challenging new boundaries and will be a platform of ingenuity and innovation.

In this context, Shaastra 2011 has announced Social Innovation Challenge and is inviting solutions in two categories:

1) Stored Energy Solar Cook Stove

2) Unmanned (fully autonomous) Robot capable of waste segregation.

1) Stored Energy Solar Cook Stove


To create an innovative solar cooker that could replace the traditional wood based cooking source.


 While the designs parameters are open ended, a good design must ensure that any prototype is ergonomic, aesthetic, robust, inexpensive and simple enough to be replicated by villagers.

 The designed prototype will need to be constructed of durable materials which should easily accessible and available in most villages across India.

 The designed prototype should be capable of storing energy in sufficient volumes for functioning for many hours past sunset (ideally 14 hours). The stored energy can be discharged at a minimum of two uses (at different times), and must be of sufficient capacity to provide two traditional meals (while traditional meals vary across regions, the prototype must be versatile enough to accommodate such variations) for a family of five. A peak power rating of 1kW with the capability of transferring heat to an alternate cooking indoor cooking surface may also be embedded.


Apart from sizeable prize money, Shaastra will field the best designs for the Solar Cooker at the Global Challenge, where the top design will have the opportunity to travel to Rajasthan and build their designs in the villages for field testing.

2) Unmanned (fully autonomous) Robot capable of waste segregation


To develop a design (design document) for a fully autonomous (unmanned) robot that can successfully segregate municipal waste into its constituents, namely: food waste, plastic, glass, paper & any other in urban areas of the country. The finalists of the challenge stand a chance to be invited to participate at the Regional Finals for which they will need to create a prototype of their design.

Challenge details

A small sample (approx. 100 kilos) of the city’s municipal waste will be kept in a particular location and the robot will have to differentiate between different types of the municipal waste and separate accordingly.

For simplicity, the waste would be a mix of only the 3-4 main constituents’ namely plastic bags, food waste, metals, and glass.

Recognition & benefits for winning model

Prize money

Recognition from the Ministry of Urban Development, GoI & National Waste Management Council, INDIA.

Recognition from UNDP.

Post winning – Opportunity to develop model further and pitch to leading industry / government bodies – and hence there may be opportunity to commercialize/patent innovation.

Last date for submission of designs is September 12, 2011

For more information and details, you can visit this link.

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