Pakistani startup for special children wins big in US competition

Published June 25, 2016
WonderTree develops interactive, augmented reality-based games for children with special needs.
WonderTree develops interactive, augmented reality-based games for children with special needs.

A Pakistani startup that develops games for children with special needs has won third prize at a competition held at Stanford University.

WonderTree, which develops interactive, augmented reality-based games for children with special needs using Microsoft Kinect technology won the third prize at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Startup Competition held at Stanford University.

The WonderTree team includes renowned psychologists and special teachers.

The company has also partnered with several institutions such as the Institute for Personal Psychology, DOW University of Health Sciences, Special Olympics Pakistan and the Karachi Vocational and Training Center, all of which help it develop games with a focus on home-based physical therapy, biofeedback and tracking.

WonderTree games use the concept of augmented reality, making the child interact using movements and gestures.

Their games provide an interactive world to the child, which boost their attention span, motivation, alongside improving and developing specific skills through specific games.

The games require a kinect v2 sensor, a laptop and a TV screen.

Muhammad Waqas, CEO and co-founder of WonderTree, who pitched the startup at the competition, said meeting investors, networking with industry experts and getting one-on-one mentoring at GES 2016 was a phenomenal experience.

“The entire journey has been an invaluable learning opportunity for us. Winning today validates what my co-founders and I have been working on for the past year and a half and proves that our games can revolutionise the learning curriculum for children with special needs around the globe.”

WonderTree competed in the startup category of the annual competition and was one of 15 applicants selected from 1,074 teams from around the world.

The competition was part of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2016), an event that showcases entrepreneurship and innovation globally and features talks and panel discussions by the likes of US President Obama, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and Sundar Pichai of Google, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Travis Kalanick of Uber, and many more.

Jehan Ara, a Pakistani tech entrepreneur was also invited to speak as part of a panel on investment opportunities in South Asia.

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