Published: 19th May 2021
This Odisha-based EdTech can help you set up Atal Tinkering Labs in your school
To boost the innovation quotient of budding innovators, AR Robotics in Odisha has decided to make Atal Tinkering Labs, smart classes and smartboards a common occurrence in the schools of Odisha
Having an Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) is a matter of pride and prestige, for smaller schools especially, but applying for it can be quite the task. To hand-hold you through it all, AR Robotics began its operations about five years ago, but officially registered only last year. It was when Anjan Kumar Raut (27), Founder and CEO of the Odisha-based start-up, was pursuing his BTech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Gandhi Institute of Engineering and Technology (GIET) University that he started this EdTech platform. Slowly, he built it with enough confidence and brought it to a stage where it could be registered.
They have set up ATLs at Ekalavya Model Residential School, Laing and Panchayat Raj High School, Kanpura (plus a smart class too) among many others. They have set up smart classes in Lady Lewis Girls High School, Sambalpur and so on
What AR Robotics essentially does is handle the setting up of ATLs end-to-end — from applying on the school's behalf to training the teachers to operate and maintain ATLs. They set up smart classes, manufacture smartboards and set up solar lights as well. Sourabh Khandelwal, Chief Marketing Officer, lets us in on the latest news about the start-up. "About two to three months ago, we received a `430 crore government project to set up more than 300 smart classes in the districts of Bargarh and Bhadrak." Seems like quite a task considering the second wave, but the B2G (business to government) and B2B (business to business) company seems to be up for it.
Anjan and Sourabh | (Pic: AR Robotics)
"As vendors, we explain the criteria involved to the school, like having a lab with a built-up area of at least 1,500 square feet. We visit the school to determine this, apply and wait for the project selection letter after which, the setting-up work begins," explains the 24-year-old. The start-up sources 3D printers, sensors, drone kits, IoT projects from their suppliers in China and have their own import-export license to do so. They offer week-long training modules for the teachers and for students, it's six months long. These budding tinkerers learn about automatic dustbins with sensors, obstacle cars and so many other projects as well. "Even after six months, we continue as mentors for both the teachers and the students, and guide them either offline or online," he shares. In this way, they have set up as many as 46 ATLs. It's not been easy navigating reluctant school management and unresponsive administrators, but they have surged on. "Some schools don't even have a clue about ATLs and we have taken it upon ourselves to explain it to them," he says.
Sourabh joined the start-up about seven months back
AR Robotics has also set up a whopping 560 smart classes and it is these smart classes that have helped the government school teachers work online during the pandemic. Not to forget the smartboards too. "It is basically an interactive panel, you can write on it, access the internet and so much more. For example, when it comes to Geography, you can open specific maps on the smartboard to teach students about specific places," explains Sourabh and adds that it is these smartboards that they started installing two years back, that distinguishes them from the other EdTechs that are in the same line of work as them.
Ideating | (Pic: AR Robotics)
Going forward, what AR Robotics has in mind for students is conducting different competitions for students of classes IX and X, which would require them to use the lab. "It would require them to put their robotics skills and sensors to use," informs Sourabh. Currently, of course, the wait is on for students to get back to school.
- To boost innovation, the Government of India started the Atal Innovation Mission and ATLs fall under it
- Currently, there are over 4,200 ATLs and over 50 lakh students have been actively engaged via it
- These ATLs are spread across 722 districts of 34 states and union territories
- Over 70% of these ATLs are in government or government-aided schools, girls or co-ed schools
- Recently, CSIR adopted 295 ATLs across the country
For more on them check out arrobotics.in