February 1, 2023
To students, crumpled plastic water bottles and milk cartons may seem like trash, but to brothers and entrepreneurs Rohit and Sidharth Srinivasan, these common everyday items represent an opportunity for equitable STEM education. These and other common items provide the basis for Trashbots, the Srinivasan brothers’ robotics platform for schools. While they were in high school, the two young entrepreneurs were inspired to create a more accessible robotics platform by their experiences volunteering to teach in India.
The Trashbot robot kits are small, roughly book-sized devices equipped with multiple LEDs, six sensors, two motors, and a speaker. What makes Trashbot kits special is how students can customize each one using everyday objects.
The hardware is only the first element of the platform the brothers designed for Trashbots. The second element is the block-based software that Trashbots utilize to help students learn about programming concepts at a young age. The third element is the curriculum, which is web-based and posted in the learning management system. More than 100 hours of curriculum spans kindergarten through grade 12. Age-appropriate lesson plans help students learn STEM concepts. The work mirrors real-world engineering and supports hands-on problem solving.