One man’s junk is another’s robot

UAE-based JunkBot joins 85 companies that have been chosen out of more than 1,800 applications by Start-up Chile.

The South American incubator awarded the founder and their teams about $35,000, a Chilean working visa for a year and access to the country’s startup community.

JunkBot is a do-it-yourself hardware kit that gives children the ability to build a robot using everyday household items. The kit comes with basic electronic components and a programmed brain. The body, says co-founder and CEO Ehteshamuddin P.A., is only limited by the children’s imagination.

“When children or kids see JunkBot, basically a robot made out of junk they get excited,” Ehteshamuddin said. “It gives them that impression that robotics is easy. It gives them the confidence that OK even I can do this. This creates an interest among them to learn more about robotic science.”

JunkBot has gotten more than just children excited about their idea. Earlier this year the staff at DP World’s Turn8 incubator program was impressed by the project and gave the company a seed investment of $30,000. They have also seen support from the German startup accelerator in February of this year. The accelerator assisted the team in connecting with manufacturers and finalizing the design of their product.

Now, the kit comes in three different types. All three kits aim to teach children about analytical thinking, problem solving, prototyping, lateral thinking and building, while keeping the lesson fun. The first kit, designed for children 5 and older comes with a preprogrammed robot that they can build themselves. The programmable kit is for children over 10 years old and comes with an online component to download different types of robots. Children can create a robot vacuum, a music player and even a door monitor.

“This is the best thing about JunkBot is that you can create different kinds of robots using the same kit,” Ehteshamuddin said. “So it doesn’t get boring for the kids. If you want to create a different robot you can download the program for that kind of robot. So it’s very flexible. “

Despite their initial success in securing seed funding, interest from venture capitalists in Dubai and over 500 preordered kits, the team at JunkBot has decided to turn to crowd funding for their first major round of investments. For Ehteshamuddin and the team, crowd funding translates to sales, and a higher valuation of the company. Moreover, it helps them stay on track with their company’s main purpose.

“Our mission with JunkBot is to have inventors in every home,” Ehteshamuddin said. “That’s when the real change will happen. Imagine if we are able to inspire to learn science technology and math, then they grow up and they find the cure for diseases like cancer. That’s perfect, that’s our mission.“