Irish edtech start-up Robotify has partnered with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak to bring access to cutting edge robotics technology to students around the world using its Virtual Robotics software.
The Irish company’s technology will allow students in more than 3,500 schools, coding clubs and school districts access premium technology in a cost-effective and equitable way.
The Apple cofounder’s company, Woz ED, provides access to high quality technology training to students. Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, however, physical access to hadware has been limited.
Using Robotify’s white label OEM, Woz ED will be able to virtualise its existing physical curriculum and provide access to a virtual experience in addition to existing physical robotics experiences. This will enable them to reach tens of thousands of students.
Cofounder of Robotify and chief executive Adam Dalton said the two companies are a "match made in heaven". Along with cofounder Evan Darcy, the company originally supplied robotics hardware to education.
“We used to be a physical hardware company, we understand some of the challenges with it,” he said. “We spoke about some of the challenges they had during Covid. They’re a physical business, with a lot of the physical fulfillment With a lot of dorne and robotics tech in the classroom, during Covid that all shut down especially in the US. They were actively searching for a solution. Robotify was the answer to their prayers - it’s a virtual solution, ready to go.”
The virtual coding training is delivered through the web browser, making it accessible on all devices. It also means the system is optimised for use on Chromebooks, which are low cost devices aimed at education, and enables students to work with many more different types of robots than a physical programme would.
However, Mr Dalton stressed that Robotify is not seeking to replace hardware, but to add to it. “Robotify has found its niche,” he said. “It’s a great scaffolder.”
The deal is part of Robotify’s goal of making their simulation software, CMS platform and virtual robotics competition software accessible to millions of students around the world. The company is aiming to be one of the leading choices in K-12 coding education within all schools in America by 2023.
Robotify , which counts entrepreneur and Hostelworld founder Ray Nolan among its backers, is looking to the future, with the possibility of a Series A funding round in the next 18 months.
“I’m impressed with the way Robotify makes coding engaging and accessible,” Mr Wozniak said. “By virtualising the technology more young people will have the opportunity to learn and explore. Both Woz Ed and Robotify focus on ensuring young learners are job-ready for the most in demand tech sector openings. We provide learners with the opportunity to engage in authentic projects to help them understand what work they love and excel at.”
Mr Wozniak will also be a keynote speaker at the Robotify Expo in September, a half-day event that celebrates advancements in STEM education. Tickets for the event, which will be virtual this year, are free of charge.