YEREVAN — Creating an augmented reality startup, teaching more than 100 students robotics, and founding an NGO could all on their own be full time jobs — but not for Vigen Khachatryan. At the age of just 19 years old, the proud native of Talin, Armenia has somehow managed to accomplish all three feats and even more thus far in his life. Vigen describes himself as “A big dreamer, and a dreamer who turns his dreams into reality”, and his accomplishments to that end prove his point.
Khachatryan’s journey into the tech world began when he attended Armath Engineering Laboratories (Armath for short), an interactive after-school program of classes, competitions, and camps beyond in the various sciences. His focus was on robotics, and though initially the skeptic of his friend group, ended up becoming the most passionate of them all. However, Vigen’s activity went far beyond taking classes – when teachers were absent, he stepped in and substituted for them at the age of 14. Eventually became a group leader for Armath for the entire marz (region) at 16 years old. And Vigen’s lessons were for the entire school, which entailed teaching 118 students at a time some days.
After his experiences in Armath, namely attending events like the Digitech Expo, Khachatryan and his peers were inspired to venture more seriously into the informational technology sector by creating their own augmented reality (AR) app. And that is how his startup, TakeAR, was created. TakeAR is a phone application that allows users to scan images and produce a 3D digital model of that image. Vigen and his cofounder envisioned the tool to be used in school textbooks to provide students with a holistic, engaging image. Additionally, they’ve created 3D models of ruins of Armenian churches based on historic sketches. By showing how churches looked in their original form, they hope to preserve cultural heritage and encourage people to visit the sites.
Vigen’s next goal is to create AR laboratories such that students in schools which may not have the proper facilities can still participate through a virtual lab environment. Thus far Khachatryan noted there was some interest from the government, but he has not had the opportunity to collaborate.
In addition to TakeAr and teaching at Armath, Vigen is also a cofounder of the Lyupin NGO, which empowers young adults through volunteering, civic leadership, and education programs. Through various grants, Vigen and other volunteers from Lyupin created an “InfoTun” or “Information House,” where youth can undergo various personal development classes. They also have plans to create a tourism center where youth can also learn about entrepreneurship and business. In addition, Lupin has a cultural component to their mission. One recent project was creating recordings of elderly men and women in villages to preserve their non-physical culture, such as local songs, stories, phrases and poems which might have otherwise been lost.
Looking back at all he’s accomplished thus far, Vigen thinks his leadership skills and passions come from a deep rooted desire to be helpful and solve problems he noticed in his community. And as a result of being so engaged, Khachatryan’s responsibilities and network expanded, and he formed connections beyond Talin to become the more well-rounded and knowledge young man he is today.