Kids design Swachh Bot to keep Chennai beaches clean
A city-based start-up is aiming to keep beaches clean with its own robot, Swachh Bot, that has been designed by children and runs on sand.
The company, SP Robotic Works Pvt Ltd., was recently adjudged the best start-up in India — they ranked 2nd in the final round — by the Masterpreneur show, hosted by a leading business news channel.
The company runs an institution named Kidobotikz, where they teach school students how to build robots during the weekends. Started in 2012 by Sneha Priya and Pranavan S., the two entrepreneurs conduct classes for school kids, familiarising them with equipment and helping them gain some practical experience.
The students, who had engineers guiding them through the process, were trained to create robots that could perform day-to-day chores. “After the Clean India Campaign was introduced, they decided to create a robot that cleans public spaces,” says Sneha Priya, who studied engineering at Anna University.
Sneha and Pranavan taught children while they were still studying. During a college competition they realised that they were far behind their foreign counterparts in innovation in this area.
“That’s when we decided to train kids early in robotics. School children have the luxury of time and they can learn new things. They won’t have enough time in college. Learning at a young age will enable them to use their knowledge and creativity,” says Sneha.
They soon plan to take their classes to the digital space so that people who cannot make it to the Kodambakkam centre can learn about robotics online.
Returning to the competition that won them notices, Sneha explains, “The competition was open for start-ups that are two to five years old. Around 20 teams were selected from four zones. In the first round, we had to make a presentation before investors. Twenty people were selected amongst us and we had to present a given business plan for the next set of potential investors. It was no less than an obstacle course. As we pitched our idea, we were given situations to deal with it. The business plan had to be changed accordingly.”
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