“Creativity is the key to achievement within the future, and primary education is wherein teachers can bring creativity in children at that degree.” These words from India’s ex-President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam might also seem overly virtuous but, regrettably, our contemporary education device seems bent on going within the contrary direction. However, the 3 co-founders of Bengaluru-based totally, DIY robotics startup QtPi, are on a mission to train youngsters ‘a way to assume’ and no longer ‘what to think’.
“Today’s children are in client mode. They have such a lot of mobile apps and devices around them that we're never able to let them into the affection of making things. They have a absolutely brief attention span and it calls for more attempt to get them worried in the use of their personal creativeness to create matters. Unfortunately, our training system additionally does now not encourage those sorts of sports and greater emphasis is laid on finishing the syllabus and supplying theoretical know-how instead of giving the practical nuances,” stated QtPi co-founder, Jasion Leon.
With the sector swiftly moving in the direction of automation, it's miles imperative to make the destiny technology prepared with the talents required at the vanguard of the fourth commercial revolution. Thus, the QtPi founders are aiming to make them remedy real issues and become marketers, in preference to learning programming languages to discover a job.
QtPi (suggested as cutie pie, a time period of endearment) changed into released officially in November 2016 with the aid of the cousin brother duo of Anto Jerlin and Jaison Leon, together with Raghunath Are. Both Jaison and Raghunath are ex-veterans of Yahoo and Microsoft. The founders’ hobby in regions together with AI, IoT, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) schooling and design and facts analytics abilties led them to build the foundation for QtPi.
Within some months of being released, the startup stands as a pacesetter amidst various homegrown as well as global players in the DIY robotics area. This consists of names which include Lego, MakeBlock, Sphero, Bibox Tern, Electron Blocks, Electro Bricks, Titanbots and greater.
QtPi was these days selected within the first cohort of DesignGild, a Pune-primarily based, design-led accelerator, for a six-month in depth programme. It was also part of Innofest (now InnoNation) 2016 which definitely ended up with QtPi registering as a non-public enterprise.
Jaison described his experience with Innofest for this reason. “As a bootstrapped enterprise, we did now not have any advertising price range. InnoNation blessed us with a free stall to showcase our product. The rousing popularity we were given from the InnoNation organisers, media and visitors encouraged us to sign in QtPi as non-public constrained. This event also helped us to sign a few colleges, precise interns and our co-founder Raghunath Babu Are determined to give up Microsoft and joined us complete-time. The ripple impact remains paying out. InnoNation genuinely identifies hardware innovations and gives a good deal-wished visibility and help.”
QtPi: Efforts Taken To Build An Interesting DIY Robotics Kit For Children
As shared with the aid of Jaison, they basically started out ideating the idea of QtPi three years lower back, before launching officially. The preliminary concept become to build a robotics schooling module for youngsters wherein they had been told on a way to construct robots.
“However, we soon located our test failing as we were not able to advantage their attention. We failed to lure youngsters from the a laugh of watching content or playing video games on cellular apps. We felt we have been inside the footwear of the everyday, conventional dad and mom. We were looking to train them in a manner dad and mom do, instructing them at each point, what to do and what not to do,” he added.
Thus, they decided to follow a top to bottom approach and construct the whole lot from scratch, maintaining most effective their target market in thoughts. They started growing their personal modules, generation, and app over the present standardised interfaces to be had. And the remaining cognizance was laid on identifying the interest regions of youngsters within the age institution of 6-17 years.
“We learned that there'll always need to be one simple laner for experiments. We ought to delve into the complexities gradually even as making them experience the procedure. This is the only manner you may engage them and inspire them to create and innovate,” emphasized Anto.
With similarly studies, they have been able to parent out the appeal that their audience had towards Arctica Cards (playing cards showing visual pics of animals, homes, and so on.).
“So, from there, we got the idea that as opposed to giving them the complete robot, why not supply them broken pieces and allow them to build what they need and programme in their very own way,” brought Jaison.
The QtPi founders first of all explored the goods of america-based totally corporation Lego which offer toy-building bricks along side a step-by using-step guidance guide on how to build. QtPi, alternatively, determined to provide simply the fundamentals to the kids and allow them to construct any form of Arctica that they want. “So, for the same constructing blocks, one youngster can build an Arctica Car, at the same time as another child can provide you with an Arctica Transformer.”
The QtPi DIY Robotics Kit: Understanding Its DESII Learning Model
The QtPi robotic package consists of an Arduino-primarily based foremost board, sensors, actuators, constructing blocks and a cell app. For the neophytes, Arduino is a sort of drag-and-drop programming interface, an open-supply digital prototyping platform allowing users to create interactive electronic gadgets. The kit supports multiple drag-and-drop programming interfaces such as Scratch & Snap4Arduino. Support for the MIT App Inventor 2 is also within the pipeline.
Furthermore, the QtPi kit is constructed at the DESII model, which stands for Design Electronics Software Integrated Innovation. Once a baby receives admitted to a QtPi revel in sector or a QtPi robotics membership, he is going through those 4 mastering stages, leapfrogging in advance on the sole basis of his interest.
For instance, the ones between 6-8 years could be extra interested in simply ‘designing’ the robots and growing new matters with the building blocks. They progressively progress toward the electronics element, where they research the basics of electronic sensors and actuators, further turning into pros in growing their very own IoT-enabled circuit boards over the QtPi motherboard. “Usually children in the age organization of nine-10 get curious approximately this degree of information,” said Jaison.
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The customers are then regularly driven closer to the greater technical and complicated tiers of robotics programming. Here they study popular languages like Scratch, Processing or Python as well as learn a few home and enterprise automation.
The remaining leg of the QtPi DIY getting to know version introduces them to specialists and makes them study integrating physical gadgets with software program and build a brand new product.
As Jason said,
“One element what human beings have is, opportunity. It isn't what any other species is good at. And we accept as true with that future generations might be gifted and it’s very critical for us to assist them learn how to locate possibilities, instead them making them analyze the age-vintage principles without any sensible factors. DESII introduces multidisciplinary talents to youngsters and they're endorsed to provide you with their own problem statements and paintings as a crew to remedy it. At the QtPi Robotics Club, they research the tools and get an possibility to apply their problem-fixing competencies. Essentially, the features any entrepreneur wishes in his adventure to create a longtime and sustainable mission.”
How The QtPi Founders Are Bootstrapping Their Way To Building A STEM Community
QTPI presently runs monthly batches on a weekly and weekday basis for a price of INR 1,four hundred and INR 1,200, respectively. It also runs evening batches and hosts summer time camps in numerous faculties. Currently, the employer is running robotics clubs in various faculties in Bengaluru and close by areas which include The Deen’s Academy, Ryan International college, Excel Global School and BMC School.
“Talks with some more schools are in superior levels. We have also signed up with lifestyle.Place to run QtPi Club in Bengaluru JustBooks branches. These early tractions implies accurate call for for a first-rate STEM imparting in India,” said Anto.
Also, they provide professional consulting to companies in product improvement. The group additionally runs robotics and IoT workshops in schools. Corporate group-building activities with robotics which excites techies and non-techies alike is another particular imparting from QtPi.
As Jason shared, instead of chasing professional buyers to help their experiments, they selected to DIY too, i.E. Bootstrap with cheap team gamers and cognizance at the product. They raised a few finances from friends and circle of relatives later to maintain the group afloat. As they have got a minimum possible product and early purchaser traction, they're exploring expert investment options to bolster their R&D and accelerate growth.
In the near future, the QtPi founders are planning to release a crowdfunding campaign which will create a community round their merchandise and services. “We are a group of 15 full-time personnel. DesignGild mentors and supports us in product and communication layout. A handful of layout interns from MIT-ID helped us in building a outstanding product. We also paintings with freelancers (normally expert university college students) to run the QtPi Clubs. Our robotics golf equipment have started out reserving reasonable revenue from April 2017. We additionally see some traction in professional consulting,” said Jaison.
Why Future Generations Need DIY Technology Startups Like QtPi, Lego And More
The proliferation of PC, Internet and mobile elevated the number of white-collar jobs in India. Similarly, cloud, AI and robotics will bring domestic a new set of opportunities for companies with hardware and software program turnkey solution talents.
While globally, corporations are busy identifying several use cases for those technologies in one of a kind industries, on the equal time, it's also essential to impart those primary competencies at a number one level. Our future generations need to be equipped with a ability set of the twenty first century as a way to live on, which includes innovative thinking and DIY talents. As consistent with a January 2016 report, globally technology can kill 5 Mn jobs via 2020. In fact, via 2021, one in four process cuts can be from India, as according to a human sources (HR) answers company PeopleStrong file. Thus, constructing capabilities at the floor stage becomes imperative in instances to come back.
Furthermore, as Jaison pointed out earlier, with improved smartphone penetration, kids are getting greater prone towards eating digital content material and on line gaming.
Let’s remember a few stats:
As consistent with Influence Central’s May 2016 document, globally, the average age at which a infant gets his/her first smartphone has now been shifted to 10.3 years.
64% of kids have get admission to to the Internet through their personal pc or pill, compared to just forty two% in 2012.
Furthermore, as in step with Nielsen’s fourth-sector 2016 Mobile Kids document, the pinnacle cellular sports encompass textual content messaging (81%), downloading apps (59%) and playing preinstalled games and mobile net/getting access to web sites (tied at fifty three%).
In such instances, it's far definitely important to inculcate the seeds of creativity in them on the early degree itself.
With PM Modi’s Make In India movement at the rise, numerous new doors of opportunities have been opened for the Indian hardware startups. But the street remains uphill for these entities. As Jaison aptly concludes,
“Hardware iterations are perceived as extra high-priced than software program iterations and much less rewarding. But, three-D printers have considerably reduced the cost of building DIY hardware-dependant products. We also see electronics design and prototyping services becoming cheap. The Indian hardware environment barely lags at the back of the software surroundings in terms of performance and turnaround time, but we're hopeful that the IoT and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) buzz will enhance the state of affairs.”