DCU students develop coding teaching robot

By Amy Lawlor

Three DCU students have developed an innovative robot that teaches you how to code.

Robotify, a company ran by three teenagers: Adam Dalton (18), Evan Darcy (18) and BT Young Scientist winner, Shane Curran (17) was just a concept two years ago.

Following their attendance at an after-school coding program ran by their school guidance counsellor in St. Paul’s College Raheny, classmates Adam and Evan were inspired to establish Robotify.

In fourth year, the pair ran a HTML and web design class as part of a mini enterprise initiative in their school. Through this experience an alternative teaching method of coding was formed.

“We found that using robots really motivated kids to learn how to code, because if they are coding something on a computer and seeing the result of that code in real life it’s something that you can’t really replace,” said Adam Dalton CEO of Robotify.

Their invention Robotify Alpha can teach children from the age of eight upwards how to distance sensors, motors and microcontrollers work, the basics in programming and how to write their own code.

Robotify is funded solely by the teenagers. “It’s an achievement that we are quite proud of to take it to this stage without any funding from family or friends … it’s a testament to the hard work myself and Evan have put in,” said Adam.

Although having previously applied for a position on the investment show ‘Dragon’s Den’ and securing an opportunity to meet with the panel of investors, co-founders Adam and Evan decided to refrain from pursuing the venture any further.

“We didn’t want to put the image of the company at risk by going on Dragon’s Den at an early stage of the business as the company image is everything,” said Adam.

Robotify co-founders are currently first year DCU students. Adam is studying Business Studies and Evan is studying Engineering.

“I really love DCU! They’ve done so much for us and it’s such an amazing place to be in terms of student entrepreneurship,” said Adam.

College wasn’t something Robotify CEO had initially pictured on his career path: “I didn’t think college would be something of value to me, I was just one of these people that wanted to get into the working world,” he said.

However, after attending multiple open days and eventually sitting in on a Business Studies panel discussion at DCU he just felt that ‘it was the right fit for him.’

Adam’s coursework has impacted his working life, creating a link between his studies and his business.

“A few weeks ago, I was doing annual returns and product pricing and I used techniques in the management accounting from semester one to price up our product,” he said.

Amy Lawlor

Image: DCU.ie