This Pakistani Startup Helps Special Children to Learn through Interactive Games
Wonder Tree is moving forward to help the needs of special children. They are to promote some games based on special needs of such children.
The Wonder Tree is the Pakistani startup from Karachi that won the third prize at Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Startup Competition last year. The competition was held at Stanford University.
The Chief Technical Officer Muhammad Usman who is also the co founder of the startups stated that ones his elder brother who is born with special needs was playing on PlayStation and was enjoying it. That day he decided to do something for the special children. He quoted, “It was then when all the dots connected and I realized what I wanted to do.”
For the children suffering from autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADHD and other mental disabilities games will be designed in presence of special education teachers, occupational therapists and psychologists.
The startup has been successful in designing four games for such children.
The games are developed keeping in mind the ease to operate and play as they just need a kinect v2 sensor, a television and a laptop to run.
The games also features the reporting system that keeps the record of children’s performance.
Usman had much to say about it. He said,
“We’re working on ways of using this data to build AI (artificial intelligence) into our games so in the future; our games will be able to adjust the difficulty levels and other settings as per the child’s needs, progress and disability. This will make our games highly efficient. We’re really excited about this.”
Rangoonwala Special School, Special Olympics Pakistan and Wonder Tree have worked in collaboration to test the technology of Wonder Tree. The Wonder Tree has also sent the proposal to seven other schools for special children to test the effectiveness of the games.
The Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Waqas said on the occasion,
“We’re also collaborating with the Institute of Professional Psychology (IPP) for feedback and improvement on our games. A MoU has been signed between Wonder Tree and the Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP) recently to further assess the startup’s technology.”
He also said, “Our team is small, but we’re working hard to make our games available and accessible to everyone.”
He further added,
“Very soon our games will be available for download through our website or through the Windows store. So anyone with a laptop, a kinect sensor (which can be bought from stores or ordered online) and an internet connection, can download our games that benefit special children.”
The program is in its initial stage but the company is hopeful to extend the program to a large scale so that many children can get benefit from the game.
Waqas said ,
“We know that the prerequisite hardware is not cheap, but it’s still a better solution compared to the unavailability of trained psychologists, special educators and therapists in Pakistan.”
He also said that the startup is trying to make it affordable by decreasing hardware requirement.
“We’re already tapping into local NGOs and plan on approaching the government too.”
He further added,
“But we cannot do this task alone. Our specialty lies in creating a turnkey, cheaper and effective solution for special education and therapy. Implementation is another ball game and we’ll need all the help we can get.”
Special children are part of our society we should embrace them rather than neglecting them to create a better society and a better life for the special children.