KOCHI: When the Centre launched the Atal Tinkering Labs in 2017, aimed at promoting scientific temperament in school children, it set in motion a new-found interest in robotics and STEM learning.
The trend has caught up in Kochi too with a huge surge in the number of children, of eight years and above, signing up for classes. In a year, there has been a 50-80 per cent increase in the number of kids enrolling for these classes in Kochi alone, say founders of prominent robotics labs in the city.
With summer vacations in the offing, there is a huge demand for such classes, say STEM Robotics Academy director (technical) Rajasekharan AH. "The future is in robotics, 3D printing and STEM. Schools and parents realise the fact and that's one reason for the sudden interest and demand for such sessions. We hold classes for students of class III and above. For younger ones, we give STEM kits and later progress to graphical programmes. A child with aptitude in the same would find it easy once he ventures into languages like python scripting," he said.
STEM Robotics Academy offers courses in STEM kits (assembling and programming), electronics circuits, Arduino, C, C++, Raspberrypi, python scripting, IOT, 3D printer / DIY projects and Artificial Intelligence Machine learning for children above the age of six. According to him, many schools are taking up the initiative and holding sessions in robotics with over 10 robotics institutes coming up in Thiruvananthapuram alone in a year.
They will only grow in the coming years, says Daniel Jeevan, officer-in-charge, Fablabs, which holds classes for engineering graduates in 3D printing. "Digital fabrication is the next big thing in the technology world and we, obviously, don't want to miss the bus. A lot of youths realise this is the future and are attending the six-month programme Fablabs offers. Unlike programming, robotics is a lot of fun and the gratification is instant," says Daniel.
Shine Sreedhar of Srishti Robotics Technologies Pvt. Ltd says with the start of summer programmes, enquiries are pouring in. "Last year saw huge growth. A lot of children and parents are approaching us for lessons in robotics. For the parents, such short-term courses are an opportunity to gauge the aptitude of their children. We have over 20 students with us at the moment and we expect another 50 during the vacation," says Shine.
Srishti offers basic level graphical programmes for children. "Their interest is mainly due to the excitement seeing their work yielding results instantly. Unlike computer languages wherein the results are just visible on screen, here you get to see hardware they made in motion. Nothing better to get them hooked," says Shine.