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Together we innovate for India: Atal Tinkering Lab Community Day

On 14th April 2018, ATL Community Day was celebrated; one of the most overwhelming experiences I had in recent past. As a Mentor for Change, I celebrated the day with DL DAV, Shalimar Bagh. The day was celebrated with great enthusiasm and focus on imbibing “Do it yourself”, “Teamwork” and “Innovation for all”.

The ATL lab had around 50 students from the school and around same number from underprivileged children who may not have access to the formal education. DL DAV Mentors and I were there to ensure that there are activities and experience for everyone.

The day started with mentors welcoming all students followed by my talk to encourage students to tinker and learn something new. Students were made to learn making of autonomous robots, programming on Arduino board, raspberry pi, 3D printing for next few hours. All students together tried their hands on open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers

This was followed by my design thinking session to ensure students come up with creative practical solutions to the problems which they choose to solve. The intent was to get constructive, concrete and future ready. The learning and possibility of applications of these innovative technologies created so much energy.

“Can this technology help my mother who spends countless hours in farm?” said one of the underprivileged child.
Another child added:

“My father works in hazardous chemical industry: we are so concerned about his health. Can robot help?”
All of us together said “Yes”

Innovation has solution to all these problems was our strong and clear message!!!

This convincing yes and focus on innovative mindset created new energy in all children. Everyone was excited to innovate for real problems together.

All the children were asked to form 10 teams. Every team had to identify (as per the team) and solve India’s biggest problems together.

It was an experience!!
Every team had a mentor, underprivileged kids and DL DAV children. It was amazing to see how children from different walks of society can innovate together.

Some of the remarkable outputs:

Humanoid which has the ability to pick, carry and place items. The purpose was that human should not work in hazardous industry and humanoids should be doing this.

Sensor which detects obstructions for visually impaired people

Seed cutter which enables farmer to predict suitability of seed before sowing

Making useful and sellable items like wall hangings from non-useful items.

All the children were equally involved and innovation was focussed on problem solving and real application particularly for underprivileged section of our society.

All the teams presented, brainstormed their innovation to DL DAV Shalimar Bagh ATL mentors and myself.

The best part of ATL Community day was that innovation was not restricted to laboratory.  Innovation is being taken to ground to ensure real transformation.

For example, team of underprivileged children, DL DAV students, mentors and me are working with farmers to check the viability and practical application of seed cutter.

My day was made so special and remarkable with shine and smiles of children who believed in innovation and are ready to do it themselves to solve our country’s problem.

ATL is a great initiative to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.

I’m sure these young innovators would put India strong and very high on innovation map!! Kudos to ATL for bringing all sections of society together and sowing seeds of innovation!!!

Aparna Saroagi
Executive Chairperson: WEE Foundation
ATL Mentor For Change