Robotics education business started with building robots in dorm rooms

Mr Jeremy Koh (left) pitching his winning idea at Founder Ignite yesterday. He and his partner Aditya Kapoor run Whyte Labs, which teaches children about building robots with mathematics and science knowledge gained from school.
Mr Jeremy Koh (left) pitching his winning idea at Founder Ignite yesterday. He and his partner Aditya Kapoor run Whyte Labs, which teaches children about building robots with mathematics and science knowledge gained from school.

While studying at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Mr Jeremy Koh and Mr Aditya Kapoor were deeply interested in bio-robotics and would spend hours on it in their dormitory rooms.

It was this passion for the subject that encouraged them to set up Whyte Labs, one of the winners at a pitching event yesterday for Enterprise Singapore's Venture Building programme.

Whyte Labs teaches children about building robots with mathematics and science knowledge gained from school.

Mr Koh, 30, said: "There is definitely a growing awareness about the importance of coding and robotics education in Singapore.

"A lot more kids these days are learning coding at a young age, even in early primary school, largely through block-based or graphical programming languages such as Scratch.

"This is empowering, because these basic skills give students the opportunity to explore a much wider range of things."

Late last year, Mr Koh and Mr Kapoor, 26, were amazed by the creative solutions they encountered while conducting a four-day workshop for children aged between 10 and 15.

During the workshop, the children had to create their own four-legged spider-like robots.

Mr Koh said: "Our youngest student was 10 years old and, despite not having any prior electronics experience, he was able to absorb all the basics and get his own walking robot up and running in just four days.

"And this is stuff that we learnt only at university."

The duo are now discussing with some schools to take their programme to more students.

They are also exploring the possibility of creating a virtual-learning platform to train other instructors.

Yeo Shu Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2021, with the headline 'Robotics education business started with building robots in dorm rooms'. Subscribe