Kashmir World Foundation (KwF), a nonprofit organization that develops self-aware unmanned autonomous systems (UASs), is a similar center of learning with mission-oriented work. Taking a distinctive approach, KwF’s drones are inspired by nature to preserve nature, and the organization itself resembles the neural networks that govern its UASs. Within the KwF network are interns, scientists, academics, and other individuals threaded together by a passion to contribute their individual knowledge and skills for a collective mission. KwF protects endangered species worldwide through connecting people, art, science, and technology. Each division of KwF functions as a lobe, or part. While each has its own role, all of them interconnect and work together towards their common goal: wildlife conservation and counter-poaching of endangered species.

The occipital lobe of the brain is dedicated to sight, and is the area that Kashmir Robotics closely resembles. Kashmir Robotics gives sight to drones through Artificial Intelligence (AI), enabling the drones to give real-time updates to rangers about the location of poachers and conservationists on the location of sea turtle tracks and nests. AI and UAS for each KwF project is adapted according to the various environments that the animals live in, from the open plains of Africa, to the coasts of Mexico and the peaks of the Himalayas, Kashmir Robotics takes in the challenges that it sees, but doesn’t deter from its mission.

Kashmir Academy, the frontal lobe of KwF, is a place for problem solving and critical thinking. Kashmir Academy believes in experiential learning and getting students involved in the subject of drones from different perspectives: literally, by having students observe drone components and figuratively, by having them compare drone flight to nature. Students explore these ideas during the DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone program. The academy encourages students of all ages to broaden their horizons and explore how the fields of STEAM merge together. Through internships, computer science and aerospace engineering students can be challenged to learn about convolutional neural networks (CNNS) and aircraft design, while animation artists can learn about the process of creating pashmina scarves. Over 150 teams of students in diverse fields came together from 6 continents under KwF’s Wildlife Conservation UAV Challenge to fight for endangered species protection. KwF programs give students of all ages an opportunity to build and fly their own drone! In a world where learning in a classroom is often one-dimensional, Kashmir Academy encourages students to network and gain a strong understanding of the 4D world interconnected through STEAM.

Kashmir Rose, the KwF art division, acts as the creative parietal lobe bringing together indigenous artists in order to bridge the gap between trading sustainable products and empowering native communities. By using a combination of fresh colors, patterns, and classic symbols, the Artists create truly unique items. Through Kashmir Rose, the talented Artisans find economic independence through the increasing popularity of their craft and keep their culture alive while sharing it with the world.

Like the neurons of the brain, everything at KwF is connected, with wildlife protection and conservation being in our roots and the base of our mission. Proceeds from Kashmir Rose help fund KwF conservation efforts to protect endangered species for development of Kashmir Robotics drones for the counter-poaching of endangered species. Those who work for Kashmir Robotics, in turn, inspire the next generation of science and tech leaders in Kashmir Academy, instilling a sense of wonder and creativity in them, a type of creativity that can be seen in Kashmir Rose’s products… it’s a timeless circle of life. And it’s a mission that every one of us can join.

Article and Images submitted by Darshini Baba Ganesh and Janet Akselrud.