Thymio: a holistic approach to designing accessible educational robots
programming for children
teacher attitudes towards technology
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AbstractTechnology is now an important part of our lives. We often see robots cited as the future of education, and reports of their imminent entrance in schools. New projects create buzz in the media and online, but when we look at the actual situation, very few robots are currently used in education, and most of the time, the platform used is the Lego Mindstorms. Why so little diversity? What do robot actually bring to the learning experience? How can we design good educational robots? Hopes are that they bring additional motivation to pupils. Since the use of robots is fun, the learning is supposed to become easier. Robot projects and activities are also expected to foster thinking skills, collaboration, and creative spirit. Finally, there is a need to educate people on technology for two reasons. The first is to break the "black box" image they have of technology, and the second is to encourage them into technical careers. Thanks to the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics (NCCR Robotics), we could develop some innovative concepts in educational robotics, and implement one such pedagogical tool. We designed a small wheeled robot with many sensors, and LEDs making its internal state apparent to the user. A simple, white look makes it a neutral base for creating one’s own application, for all age and gender groups. Different user interfaces allow to make it accessible to everybody: • Pre-programmed behaviours that demonstrate its different possibilities • A Visual Programming Language (VPL), without text and based on event-action pairs • The Aseba script language (text-based), with a comprehensive development environment to accompany and inform the user The resulting platform, Thymio II, is completely open-source and open-hardware. It was mass-produced and commercialised at a low cost. This gave the opportunity to evaluate the public’s response to it. We could assess that the robot design is well received and appreciated by different age and gender groups. It seems particularly popular with girls. We analysed the expectations of the different age categories and proposed activities that fitted their specific needs. We could also validate that users of Thymio II learn notions of programming, understand essential concepts such as what sensors are, what is the relationship between the robot, the computer, and the programming environment. With the VPL, they could quickly grasp the meaning of events and event-action pairs. We realised that in spite of the interest it generated, the robot was not used much at home or in schools. We think that there is a need for more guidance and that parallels should be drawn with e-learning for the use at home. In schools, we observed that teachers who use robots are pioneers, who invest time and sometimes money into new technologies out of personal interest. The others do not feel strongly against robotics but are probably discouraged by the lack of institutional injunction, appropriate training, budget, and ready-to-use pedagogical materials. At the end of this work, we conclude by giving a set of guidelines, based on our experience, for the design of educational robots. This project demonstrated very promising results and we believe that it can be a first step toward renewing teaching habits.
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Fuzzy rule based neuro-dynamic programming for mobile robot skill acquisition on the basis of a nested multi-agent architectureKarigiannis, JN; Rekatsinas, TI; Tzafestas, CS (2014-03-01)Biologically inspired architectures that mimic the organizational structure of living organisms and in general frameworks that will improve the design of intelligent robots attract significant attention from the research community. Self-organization problems, intrinsic behaviors as well as effective learning and skill transfer processes in the context of robotic systems have been significantly investigated by researchers. Our work presents a new framework of developmental skill learning process by introducing a hierarchical nested multi-agent architecture. A neuro-dynamic learning mechanism employing function approximators in a fuzzified state-space is utilized, leading to a collaborative control scheme among the distributed agents engaged in a continuous space, which enables the multi-agent system to learn, over a period of time, how to perform sequences of continuous actions in a cooperative manner without any prior task model. The agents comprising the system manage to gain experience over the task that they collaboratively perform by continuously exploring and exploiting their state-to-action mapping space. For the specific problem setting, the proposed theoretical framework is employed in the case of two simulated e-Puck robots performing a collaborative box-pushing task. This task involves active cooperation between the robots in order to jointly push an object on a plane to a specified goal location. We should note that 1) there are no contact points specified for the two e-Pucks and 2) the shape of the object is indifferent. The actuated wheels of the mobile robots are considered as the independent agents that have to build up cooperative skills over time, in order for the robot to demonstrate intelligent behavior. Our goal in this experimental study is to evaluate both the proposed hierarchical multi-agent architecture, as well as the methodological control framework. Such a hierarchical multi-agent approach is envisioned to be highly scalable for the control of complex biologically inspired robot locomotion systems. © 2010 IEEE.
The Future of Service Robotics; A qualitative study of ten service robot segments from a technology innovation adoption perspectiveEdvardsen, Egil; Jonsson, Carl (2017-09-13)The market for service robots is emerging in a broad number of applications, personal as well as professional. Following new technology, robots has increasingly left the confide spaces in industrial applications and entered into our everyday lives. For industry stakeholders, the emergence of the service robotics field, which undoubtedly hold significant potential, is associated with large uncertainty and actors throughout the value chain stand to gain if some clarity could be offered on the subject. Following this, the purpose of this study is to lessen that uncertainty by providing an accurate picture of the industry as of 2016 and by presenting a possible future development for each of the included service robot segments. Empirical findings gathered from industry participants, researchers and company representatives are used to map the industry today and to collect beliefs about the future. A forecast is then performed through a qualitative analysis of the empirical findings, from a perspective of technology innovation adoption theory. The study finds that there are several trends supporting a strong future development of service robotics. Firstly, technological advancements will continue to enhance the robot’s capabilities, thus making them more attractive. Secondly, several macro-economic trends including increased cost of labour and decreasing prices on input goods will further promote increased adoption. Given the various characteristics of the robots, a qualitative analysis for the future adoption of each segment is presented as well as an aggregated conclusion for all included segments. The study finds that the annual shipments in 2016, for all included segments, are approximately 7,9 million units, with an estimated total value of US$ 12.9 billion. This same figure in 2026, in the end of the forecast period, is approximately 58,3 million units, with an estimated value of US$ 78.5 billion.
Legal Responsibility of the Physician and the Hospital For the Damages Caused by the Use of Surgical Robots to The PatientKOYUNCU AKTAŞ, Nihan (Selcuk UniversitySelçuk Üniversitesi, 2021-02-23)The utilization of surgical robots which are sub-category of medical robots be-comes widespread in our country as it is in foreign countries. However, it shall be mentioned that the surgical robots have not reached to a level that can self-learn, decide or conduct the surgery independently in today’s practice. As an example, da Vinci surgical robots which are the most common and successful model of surgical robots can perform under the control of physician and operated directly by physician’s commands. That being mentioned, there are robots such as RO-BODOC which also cannot self-learn but have a limited independency. With the integration of surgical robots in healthcare, the legal responsibility of the physician and the hospital for the damage caused by robotic surgery to the patient should be discussed. This discussion is shaped depending on the degree of autonomy of the surgical robot. Thus, the legal responsibility of the treating party has been evaluated especially under the provision TCO Art 116 accordingly with the degree of autonomy of the robot.