Not all kids learn the same. But Zyrobotics wants to make sure that all kids have the opportunity to learn in their own way. The company uses innovative technology to create educational technology for children that is truly inclusive. Read more about the company and its offerings in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What Zyrobotics Does
Provides educational technology for children with differing abilities between the ages 3-12.
Offering an inclusive design.
Founder and CTO, Dr. Ayanna Howard told Small Business Trends, “Our products engage both typical children as well as children with special needs, such as children with autism or cerebral palsy. Our focus is to ensure all children are provided equal access to fun and engaging educational STEM curriculum.”
How Zyrobotics Got Started
As a robot programming camp.
Howard was working as a professor at Georgia Tech when she received a grant to form a camp for kids with special needs.
She explains, “These camps not only led to the development of accessible interfaces for children with physical disabilities, but with support from the Georgia Tech Venturelab startup program and the State of Georgia GRA Ventures program, the company was founded and the lab technology accelerated to commercialization. Zyrobotics mission is to create accessible technologies that engage and empower all children.”
Launching a smart toy called the Zumo Learning System.
Howard says, “It was our first e-learning system that created an inclusive learning environment for children of all abilities. The system was designed so that children, with and without special needs, can have fun while engaging with math subjects. The idea for Zumo came while we were working with kids at a therapy clinic. The therapists had to work very hard to motivate the kids to interact with assistive switches needed to operate various communication devices. We discovered that the kids were more likely to use an assistive switch if the switch was fun to play with. Designing Zumo enabled us to not only address the needs of our target demographic, but to do it such that they are using technology that every child wants to interact with.”
Building an inclusive approach to education through educational technology for children.
Howard explains, “Initially, we dedicated our resources to the special needs market then decided later to focus on inclusive education to include children with and without special needs. If things went wrong — for instant if our products did not appeal to the mainstream child, we would have a limited market that wasn’t sustainable. That’s one of the reasons why we design our apps to be accessible, but appealing to all children. The payoff has been a reputation as a company that develops products to address the needs of the special needs community, while also allowing inclusion.”
Sales strategies are important.
Howard says, “If I were to start again, we would focus more on developing a concrete sales strategy before implementing marketing initiatives.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Sales and marketing.
Unique office décor.
Howard says, “We have stuffed turtles all over our office.”
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” –Thomas Edison
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Images: Zyrobotics, Top image: (left to right) Founder and COO John Harding, Principal Engineer Dr. Hae-Won Park, CEO Johnetta MacCalla, Founder and CTO, Dr. Ayanna Howard, Third image: Dr. Ayanna Howard