Making robotics and AI comprehensible for kids

With robotics being one of the big hits at the Bengaluru tech summit, the stall by a Bengaluru based startup drew a lot of attention.  At the exhibit, a group of students were operating the model of a smart home, using a DIY robotic kit.

As AI and robotics assume centre stage in our lives, it is important that students get trained in these fields. However, formal education was not able to create a student-friendly curriculum for robotics.

With robotics being one of the big hits at the Bengaluru tech summit, the stall by a Bengaluru based startup drew a lot of attention.  At the exhibit, a group of students were operating the model of a smart home, using a DIY robotic kit. The home has sensors, smart taps and devices such as small agro-robots were also on display.

The exhibit was the brainchild of Qtpi, a Bengaluru based startup that is making an attempt to make learning robotics easier and more interesting for kids.

Founded by a group of software engineers, Jaison Leon, Raghunath Are and Anto Jerlin, the company has developed DIY robotic kits and conducts classes aimed at inculcating AI-related skills in children.

Anto, one of the founder’s states, “We wanted to create something that will not only make the students learn more about the basics of robotics and AI, and will give them a chance to use their creative skills and make them think.”

The company aims at getting kids out of the regular schooling mindset and make them want to create things.

“The focus of education in schools is on theory and not so much on practical knowledge. That is our main focus area.  We are never able to let them into the love of creating things. They have a really short attention span and it requires more effort to get them involved in using their own imagination to create things. Unfortunately, our education system also does not encourage these kinds of activities and more emphasis is laid on finishing the syllabus and imparting theoretical knowledge rather than giving the practical nuances.

They designed a kit which with building blocks and basic electricals such as a motherboard, plug and play sensors, actuators and a software platform that uses drag and drop programming.

“This means that kids do not need to write code in the early stages. They can use these building blocks to pick up the basics,” says Anto.

Starting out with showcasing their machines and platforms at summer camps and school events, the company has started QtSchool, a programme that lets  QtPi sets up labs in schools and deploys trainers, apart from conducting classes.

More than 46 schools are participating in the programme, most of them in Bengaluru. “Ït costs about Rs 2,500 per child.”

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