Proceedings

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Methods and Best Practices

  • Dave Catlin, Andrew P. Csizmadia, James G. OMeara, Sarah YounieTrends in the USA and UK insist that classroom interventions are supported by evidence of their efficacy. The body of evidence supporting the value of educational robots is growing. However, a perennial problem remains, how can such evidence impact everyday teaching and the use of educational robots in the classroom? MESHGuides are created by an international network of educators who are mapping the research base underpinning educational practice and making it readily available to teachers anywhere in the world. The TACTICS Framework sets a standard for how research information should be integrated into evidenced-based activities and how these activities can be used to inform research. This paper introduces these ideas and shows how they have been applied to the Turtle type educational robot, Roamer.Download (542.9 KB)

  • José Gonçalves, Manuel Silva, Paulo Costa, Armando SousaIn this paper it is presented an educational mobile robotics experiment based on a low cost mobile robot prototype and its simulation. The chosen educational robot challenge is a classical introductory experiment, that consists in following a line with a mobile robot based on the differential kinematics. The presented experiment has as goal to introduce students to the challenges of mobile robotics, initially programming a simulated robot, building a real robot and finally testing the developed code in a real robot. The robot was simulated using SimTwo, which is a realistic simulation software that can support several types of robots. Having as base the proposed challenge, a mobile robot competition was conducted as a part of the evaluation of the curricular unit of “Systems Based on Micro-Controllers” of the “Electrotechnical and Computer Engineering” course of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto.Download (2.1 MB)

  • Nikolena Christofi, Monica Talevi, Joanna Holt, Kjetil Wormnes, Iosif. S. Paraskevas, Evangelos G. PapadopoulosAs part of its Education Programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) is taking several steps towards the development of Educational activities and platforms that use Space Robotics as a mean to support and reinforce STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school education in Europe. In this paper the on-going development of an Orbital Robotics educational prototype platform is presented, consisting of a hardware-developed physical platform and an accompanying set of curriculum-based lessons (IB Physics curriculum) that target upper secondary students (16-18 y/o target group). The hardware, a friction-less air-hockey table (physical platform) engineered for this purpose, will be used by students to interactively acquire the necessary experience of the dynamics of space systems, as the environmental conditions and physical constraints that are characteristic of on-orbit systems are emulated. The students will be able to manipulate space robot (satellite) mockups performing basic tasks such as docking, landing and grasping space debris. Additionally, a smartphone application has been implemented to allow the interaction with the platform, via a dedicated User Interface (UI). The lessons are inquiry-based and are structured so that the students are actively engaged in the learning process according to a learner centered approach. The project is jointly undertaken by the ESA Education Office and the ESA Automation and Robotics Section, with the support of the Control Systems Laboratory of the National Technical University of Athens. The development is taking place at the facilities of the Automation and Robotics Laboratory (ARL) of ESTEC, ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands.Download (641.1 KB)

Education and Mechatronic Platforms

  • Luka Cehovin, Anze Rezelj, Danijel SkocajIn this short paper we present the requirements and implementation of a mobile robot platform to be used for teaching intelligent robotic classes. We report our experience of using the platform in university courses and various extracurricular activities.Download (376.5 KB)

  • Didier Roy, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, Stéphane Magnenat, Fanny Riedo, Gordana Gerber, Morgane Chevalier, Francesco MondadaWe present the IniRobot pedagogical kit, conceived and deployed within French and Swiss primary schools for the initiation to robotics and computer science. It provides a microworld for learning, and takes an enquiry-based educational approach, where kids are led to construct their understanding through practicing an active investigation methodology within teams. It is based on the use of the Thymio II robotic platform. The paper presents the detailed pedagogical objectives and a first measure of results showing that children acquired several robotics-related concepts.Download (1.2 MB)

  • Anton Yudin, Andrey Vlasov, Maxim KolesnikovThe paper describes the original mechatronic device, which with the help of the developed control software reproduces virtual images on a material plane. Device mechanics allows various tools and materials for drawing. High-level user programming interface is written in Smalltalk with an idea to be user- and education- friendly. Low level control is carried out by an eight-bit Atmega microcontroller. The paper presents general ideas, describes prototype device developed and underlying problems and solutions occurred during the design process.Download (2.8 MB)

  • Clemens Koza, Christoph Krofitsch, Wilfried Lepuschitz, Gottfried KoppensteinerRobotics represents an ideal tool for teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) due to its interdisciplinary nature and appeal for young people. This paper gives an overview of the Hedgehog controller, a robot controller developed with education as an explicit use case. Mobile devices are part of the architecture for increasing the appeal to students and decreasing the costs of the controller hardware. The peripheral interfaces in conjunction with the capabilities of today’s smart phones and an optional single-board computer make the platform suitable for sophisticated applications in and beyond the education domain.Download (2.6 MB)

  • Maria Salmina, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Yuri Poduraev, Anton Yudin, Andrey Vlasov, Vladimir Sukhotskiy, Yuri TsibulinThe paper briefly discusses major points of concern for the group of educators with different professional background united to find and share best practices of continuous engineering education. Target age groups for the educational process include: kids of 7-10 years old, children of 11-14 years old, teenagers of 15-18 year old, young specialists of 19-22 years old and young professionals of 23-30 years old. The material could be of interest to active educators looking for better ways of organizing projectoriented studies and learning environment in a modern digital fabrication setup.Download (3.4 MB)

  • Ernest B.B. Gyebi, Marc Hanheide, Grzegorz CielniakEducational robotics can play a key role in addressing some of the challenges faced by higher education in Africa. One of the major obstacles preventing a wider adoption of initiatives involving educational robotics in this part of the world is lack of robots that would be affordable by African institutions. In this paper, we present a survey and analysis of currently available affordable mobile robots and their suitability for teaching computer science at African universities. To this end, we propose a set of assessment criteria and review a number of platforms costing an order of magnitude less than the existing popular educational robots. Our analysis identifies suitable candidates offering contrasting features and benefits. We also discuss potential issues and promising directions which can be considered by both educators in Africa but also designers and manufacturers of future robot platforms.Download (285.2 KB)

  • Angeliki D. TheodosiThis paper presents the methodology applied on a project that took place in the academic year 2013-2014, in the Robotics Club of Ralleia Model Experimental Primary Schools in Greece, within the framework of the Hellenic contest for World Robotics Olympiad in Open Category, the theme of which was "Robots and Space". The presented workflow was chosen in order to inspire pupils to work on a common goal as well as to stimulate their interest in Robots, Astronomy and Space, fields that are out of the Primary School educational program. The results extracted through external evaluation of the outcome of the applied methodology, as well as the mostly positive evaluation remarks that were extracted by the pupils through the completion of a questionnaire were very promising as this project won the second place in the contest. In addition, the pupils that were voted to be members of the contest team were so excited about the whole process that they were eager to participate again.Download (453.5 KB)

Curriculum Aspects

  • Lara Lammer, Matthias Hirschmanner, Astrid Weiss, Markus VinczeRobotics is an excellent tool for teaching science and technology, so current approaches in educational robotics mostly focus on these domains. However, besides engineering we also need social sciences, design and business approaches in robotics. Crazy Robots is a top-down approach to educational robotics from the product developer’s perspective. Curiosity, creativity, persistence, and teamwork are in focus. In three consecutive workshops at five high schools, children aged 11-13 work through three incisive phases of product development: “ideation”, “prototyping”, and “evaluation”. The approach follows the educational goals of empowering children, providing a structure for creative processes, and teaching the product perspective (top-down). Feedback from teachers and students reflects the positive achievements of the concept.Download (865.5 KB)

  • Sabrina Rubenzer, Georg Richter, Alexander HofmannThe use of robotics in education can be found in many initiatives in order to motivate students for technology and engineering. Hands-on experiments are often used as an instrument. In this paper we present a multi-grade, consistent and gender neutral curriculum starting in primary school until the end of high school in the areas robotics, computer science and measurement and control. Additionally we describe the implementation of a certificate for middle school.Download (704.9 KB)

  • Michele Moro, Silvia Di Battista, Emanuele Menegatti, Monica PivettiThis paper discusses the design and evaluation of an introductory laboratory in Educational Robotics during a specialization course in support teaching for special needs. The trainees were mostly in-service teachers. We provided various practical examples with different robotic platforms (essentially Mindstorms EV3 and Bee-bot) on the basis of the level. The evaluation was based on a questionnaire the trainees filled at the end of any session: the paper contains some summarizing results of the analysis of the questionnaires.Download (461.1 KB)

  • Jessica SwensonWith the increase of automated technologies, artificial intelligence, and advancement of low cost microprocessors, many university programs have added courses, certificates, and degree programs in robotics. While many papers detail the development of these programs, they provide little information about the students’ learning and experience. This paper presents a summary of ten interviews conducted with senior level undergraduate students after a semester long robotics course. Results indicate students built on their previous technical knowledge and learned a significant amount of problem solving skills.Download (4.0 MB)

Competition Related Aspects

  • Richard Balogh, Marek LászloThe paper shows how students used the modeling and simulation capabilities of the Matlab/Simulink to improve the control design of their winning FEIminetors car for the worldwide known Freescale Cup competition. Creating and simulating the model gives a) better understanding of the processes and b) almost bug-less transfer of the code to the embedded processor and c) first estimation of controller parameters.Download (11.9 MB)

  • Anton Yudin, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Maria SalminaThe paper presents a series of steps in educational process of mastering mechatronics. The material is meant to be used during relevant workshops and forms basic systematization of educational methods and tools the authors use in their everyday practice. Proposed approaches proved to be working and bring good educational results in a long-term time span. The paper is aimed at popularization of technical education, sharing best practices in the field and forms a platform for dialogue with the rest of the community.Download (6.6 MB)

  • Alexander Ferrein, Stephan Kallweit, Ingrid Scholl, Walter ReichertThe main objective of our ROS Summer School series is to introduce MA level students to program mobile robots with the Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS is a robot middleware that is used by many research institutions worldwide. Therefore, many state-of-the-art algorithms of mobile robotics are available in ROS and can be deployed very easily. As a basic robot platform we deploy a 1/10 RC cart that is equipped with an Arduino micro-controller to control the servo motors, and an embedded PC that runs ROS. In two weeks, participants get to learn the basics of mobile robotics hands-on. We describe our teaching concepts and our curriculum and report on the learning success of our students.Download (2.3 MB)

  • Jean-Daniel DessimozInternational competitions in robotics provide an excellent framework for technical education and for facilitating the exchange of students across universities. Considering the evolution of technical content in school training, and the development of ICT and the internet, robotics appears to feature exceptional properties here. Smart robots are capable of cognition, the faculty to generate pertinent information; and cognitics is the field where automated cognition is explored. Moreover, cognitive aspects gain also to be clarified in academic and educational issues, as MCS theory of cognition critically contributes to support, as well in scientific, technical, as didactic terms. Considering the evolution of school education in general, as well as professional training, international robotics competitions provide a good arena for practicing numerous concepts of growing importance, such as teamwork, hands-on, peer tutoring, or connection between conceptual and real worlds for example. The paper concludes with a case study relating to our good experience about the topic in title, gained in the context of Robocup@Home international initiative. Results can be transfered.Download (7.6 MB)

Conceptual Aspects and Cognition

  • Matthias Hirschmanner, Lara Lammer, Markus Vincze“Selective exposure” in educational robotics renders activities playful and keeps children motivated; however, it also influences children’s images of real robots and their expectations of technology development. We designed the Mattie robot as an educational robot for children aged 11 to 13 using everyday materials and easily accessible electronics (white-box approach). Children are introduced to five different areas of robotics based on their interests and actively participate in the integration of these domains to construct a robot. Mattie robot has been employed in a pilot project in seven junior high school classes with over a hundred students. Feedback is very positive: students like it; teachers would appreciate yearly workshops with the robot.Download (7.4 MB)

  • Reinhard Gerndt, Jens LüssemRobotics evolved as a central issue in teaching for scientific and engineering disciplines. However, the community lacks tools allowing quantitative standardized assessment of student learning, in order to subsequently improve teaching. A common concept inventory can play the role of such a tool. We know concept inventories for a number of subjects, for example in the field of Signals and systems [1]. Concept inventories typically consist of a standardized multiple-choice exam that allows assessment of students’ understanding of the most central concepts of a subject. Typically, students are tested before and after having participated in the course. The relative performance gives a numerical value that allows measuring teaching and learning success and possibly also highlights specific problems of the teaching or learning approach. With this paper we want to initialize the process of identifying a list of central concepts in the field of robotics.Download (1.1 MB)

  • Jean-Daniel DessimozAt the current moment of developing more capable robots, cognition appears as a crucial faculty to harness, i.e. to implement on machines; this is the field of cognitics. As a mirror effect, what is learnt about cognition for the purpose of machines also affects the way we may recognize its role for ourselves as humans. This is of paramount importance in education and academic contexts. Cognition is not bound to address only models of physical reality, even though it remains necessarily implemented on real-world, physical infrastructure. Thus cognition has the extraordinary capability to define alternative conceptual worlds, assumptions, and possible futures. A special attention should be given here to “visions”, those immaterial constructs, models, capable to inspire and trigger the autonomous action of cognitive systems, typically humans today. Thus the model item that is proposed here for effective results both in technical and in human sciences is the one of anticausality. This is in full contrast to usual models in physical world, yet provides a very natural foundation for establishing freedom, viewed independently from the reality immediately perceived.Download (1.0 MB)

Other, Selected Topics

  • Dave Catlin, Edward OtienoDo Turtle type educational robots have a role to play in High School? In general the use of these robots is in early years and primary schools. In High Schools the use of Lego and Vex construction type robots predominate. According to the Educational Robotic Application (ERA) Principles Turtle type robots can support the development of older students. This poster reports on a pilot project exploring this principle using the Roamer® robot. The project showed how robots can make a positive contribution to enriching a student’s mathematical experience and provided important insights on how to improve the organisation of robotic activities.Download (688.6 KB)

  • Daniel López-Cazorla, Montserrat Garcia-Rodríguez, Martha-Ivón Cárdenas, Oriol Tarradellas-ViñasThe project aims to develop, balance and enhance the theoretical knowledge, skills and attitudes of students focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines applied at secondary school level. The work, carried out by K-12 students, is differentiated into two blocks, coding and robotics. In the first block, programming in Scratch becomes one of the main goals, in which the students make code intuitively but supervised by the teacher, enhancing and developing the computational thinking and the digital competence. The programming tools used are Code, Scratch, Arduino and Scratch4Arduino. In the second block, an autonomous vehicle named i-SIS is assembled. Here, they will implement their knowledge to make it work. In teams, the students will apply their knowledge of mechatronics. Controlling emotions, interpersonal motivation and collaborative work will be essential for success. Moreover, the student’s autonomy selfesteem and entrepreneurship are boosted.Download (2.9 MB)

  • Asif Hussain, Paolo Tommasino, Charmayne Hughes, W.G. Kumudu, C. Gamage, Wayne Dailey, Etienne Burdet, Domenico CampoloThe aging population and an increase in the demand for post injury therapy has generated particular interest in technology based solutions for neurorehabilitation. This paper presents a practice based approach for teaching design of technology for post-injury training of motor-functions. The content of the course and its implementation using designed 2-DOF planar robot are discussed here.Download (706.6 KB)

  • Igor Zubrycki, Grzegorz GranosikOur pilot project, led by Lodz University of Technology together with Academy of Fine Arts, is aimed at designing and prototyping equipment that therapists may use with their patients who are children with mental disorders. We present some of the outcomes of this co-operation and highlight the conditions necessary for the success of such ventures: creativity, communication and deep thinking.Download (940.9 KB)