Pakistani Startup WonderTree wins GIST Startup Award for educating Special Children via Technology
A Pakistani startup from Karachi, WonderTree was rewarded “3rd Place Startup” in the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Startup Competition, which took place on Thursday 23rd June and Friday 24th June, 2016 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
WonderTree develops responsive games for children with special needs. These games formulate education and are therapy pleasant, making a positive impact on children. These games also have the characteristics of a reporting system to monitor the overall progress of the children.
Inspiration of Co-Founders
The three Co-Founders of WonderTree, Muhammad Usman – Chief Technical Officer, Muhammad Waqas – Chief Executive Officer and Ahmed Hassan – Chief Operating Officer were stimulated to aid children with special needs through interactive games. This startup took shape in 2015.
Muhammad Usman said, “As I noticed my elder brother, born with special needs, playing a game with joy, then I realized what I actually wanted to do in life.”
How it works?
WonderTree develop games that use the concept of a better reality. The child interacts with the games by using gestures and movements that improve his attention span, motivation and develop specific skills.
WonderTree has recently made four games for children with the cooperation of special education teachers, psychologist and therapists that deals ADHD, down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other mental disabilities.
Attributes of the games
- Learning – Kids learn more when they enjoy, making these games transform learning into fun with virtual interaction. It motivates and engages the children in learning.
- Reporting – These games have a built-in feature of tracking system for performance. It helps in understanding the development of the child.
- Affordability – These games are easy to install and are affordable.
- Accessibility – These games are accessible all the time even without therapist.
Requirements for interaction with games
Following hardware is needed to play the Game:
- A Kinect v2 sensor
- A television
- A laptop
WonderTree’s games support in developing motor, cognitive and efficient skills for children. With built-in reporting system, developers can track and document each child’s performance.
Last year, WonderTree collaborated with Rangoonwala Special School in Karachi and Special Olympics Pakistan, where special students and athletes were tested with startup’s technology. Currently, WonderTree is engaging seven schools in Karachi to evaluate the effectiveness of its technology.
Muhammad Waqas said, “We are working in collaboration with the Institute of Professional Psychology (IPP) for improvement in our games.”
Our team is on a very small scale, but we are working hard to make our games available and affordable to everyone. Very soon our games will be available to download through our website and through the Windows store, he further added.
WonderTree is working on the application of the latest technologies implemented into its games so that child could get more involved to learn.
Usman Said, “We are working on to build AI (artificial intelligence) into our games. So in the future, our games will be able to regulate the difficulty levels and other settings as per requirements. This will make our games highly efficient.”
Milestones of WonderTree
- Runner Up of [email protected] ICT Awards 2015, Category E-Inclusion and E-Community.
- 3rd Place Startup at GIST Tech-I, 2016.
- Represented Pakistan in APICTA 2015, Sri Lanka.
- Winner of the “I’m Karachi Grand Innovation Challenge” 2015.
- Top 25 Startups from Karachi, 2016.
About GIST Tech-I
It is an annual competition for worldwide startups to participate with their innovative ideas in science and technology programs. Innovators submit their ideas and startup online in an application that consist of an executive summary and promotional video. Submissions are then reviewed by the experts and determines the finalists on basis of the global voting.
2016 GIST (Tech-I) Pitch Competition
This event was organized under the supervision of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the U.S. Department of State. This year 1075 application received from 104 countries around the globe that participated in this competition.
In this competition, 431655 votes were registered in which 202714 votes from Eurasia, 83997 votes from Latin America, 53553 votes from MENA, 17234 votes from West Africa and 74157 votes from East, South and Central Africa.
After the full review of scientific, regional, technical, innovation and entrepreneurship experts, only 102 individuals were selected from 51 countries.
2016 GIST Tech-I Pitch Competition Winners
List of Winners Startup Phase:
1 – 1st Place: Hoang Dao, Monkey Junior, Vietnam, Winner of $15,000 USD
2 – 2nd Place: Yap Chee Wei, HiGi Energy, Malaysia, Winner of $7,500 USD
3 – 3rd Place: Muhammad Waqas, WonderTree, Pakistan, Winner of $3,000 USD
4 – Honorable Mention: Md. Samid Razzak, 10 Minute School, Bangladesh, Winner of $2,000 USD
5 – People’s Choice Award Startup: Charity Wanjiku, Strauss Energy, Kenya, Winner of $2,000 USD
List of Winners Idea Phase:
1 – 1st Place: Samina Sarwat, Astha Purifier, Bangladesh, Winner of $15,000 USD
2 – 2nd Place: Maher Maymoun, Solar PiezoClean, Jordan, Winner of $7,500 USD
3 – 3rd Place: Layth Hamad, Clev-G, Jordan, Winner of $3,000 USD
4 – Honorable Mention: Nnenna Okoye, ResSpot, Nigeria, Winner of $2,000 USD
5 – People’s Choice Award Idea: Maher Maymoun, SolarPiezo Clean, Jordan, Winner of $2,000 USD
1 – Spirit of GIST Tech-I:Amr Hussein, Koshk Comics, Egypt, Winner of $1,500 USD
2 – Science and Technology Prize: Maher Maymoun, Solar PiezoClean, Jordan, Winner of $3,000 USD
3 – Outstanding Female Entrepreneur: Samina Sarwat, Astha Purifier, Bangladesh, Winner of $5,000 USD