Technology for the common man


The scientists and the students at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM), IISc, Bangalore have devised a lightweight, all-in-one aluminium food vending cart to help the street food vending community run a healthy and hygienic enterprise, and also ensure a garbage-free city.

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Prof. B. Gurumurthy and his team worked for five months to develop this intensive self-contained unit. It is mounted on a three-wheel cycle rickshaw with all essentials for cooking on its rear, where the seating area typically is. One can cycle the cart from place to place and earn his/her livelihood.

The cart has an area for cooking and heating, and is amenable to frying fast food on the spot, like noodles, gobi manchurian and, vadas. It has space for storing food and plates. There is a drinking water source and a place to wash, besides a dustbin to load waste. It is wide enough to ensure there is no spillover. Provision has been made to place a cylinder which can be connected to the stove. It is made largely of aluminium, with steel being minimally used. It is light and can be pedalled from home to the selling spot and back.

Gurumurthy believes that the roadside food vendors render valuable service — they offer food to hundreds of cabs and auto drivers, constables, bus passengers, labourers and the unorganized working segment, which cannot afford food in an ordinary hotel. However, street vendors are shunned for the waste they generate. Since space for garbage is provided within the cart itself, people need not throw waste on the footpath. This will keep the place clean and keep street dogs away and authorities won’t chase them away and deprive them of a living.

The scientists have also developed a cart design that can work from the back of a small truck/car. This was designed keeping in mind those people who use the back of small cars like Maruti Omni to sell food.

The scientists are hoping that if any agency, company, NGO or, government department gets vendors to use this cart and provide them feedback, they can improve it and then mass produce hygienic public food distribution carts. As of now it costs Rs 28,000, but the scientists say mass production will bring down costs.

Though this superb innovation is facing the problem of commercialization right now, we hope to see further localized research and development steps from different institutions of repute in our nation to solve this problem.




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