While the use of technology is omnipresent in most jobs, our society need to move towards better education in technology in general and robotics in particular. As the two grand challenges of NCCR Robotics in wearable and mobile robotics show the application of robots in society as a whole, the main goals of developing robots for education is to study how robots can improve the quality of education and give students a good basis in science and technology.
Our educational action aims at developing robotic tools that are accessible, cheap and that can be broadly adopted by teachers in schools. We base our approach on using paper as a basic component to be used with small, inexpensive robotic elements and to allow a progressive use of technology to reach complex robotic experiments. This research is culminating in the development of Cellulo, through integrating recent results from modular robotics, distributed control, haptic human-swarm interaction and educational robotics, and adding innovative elements, we focus our research contributions on modular heterogeneous mechanical structures, paper module attachment systems, educative visualisation of the design process and of resulting behaviours, new forms of mechatronic design for education and distributed control.
Alongside the hardware to produce the physical Cellulo robots, we are developing an augmented reality tool for use with Cellulo that will open up the robots to a wider range of teaching activities. To develop this tool we are investigating how robots in the classroom alter the interactions of kids with each other, with the robots and the dynamic of the whole classroom.