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Thymio II is an educational robot in the 100 Euros price range. The robot was developed at the EPFL in collaboration with ECAL, both in Lausanne, Switzerland. A purely-visual programming language was developed at ETH Zurich. All components, both hardware and software, are open source. The main features of the robot are a large number of sensors and actuators, educational interactivity based on light and touch, and a programming environment featuring graphical and text programming. Thymio has over 20 sensors and 40 lights and integrates with third party languages such as MIT's Scratch.
One of the unique features of these robots is its design, production, and commercialization by a full open-source and non-profit chain of actors. This very alternative approach has been justified by the educational goal of the project. The design has been mainly made by universities (EPFL,écal and ETHZ ) within research programs (NCCR Robotics ). Mechanics, electronics and software are open source. The company producing Thymio, called Mobsya is a non-profit organization.
Many articles have been written about how to teach with Thymio in the classroom including the article, "Classroom robotics: Motivating independent learning and discovery" on Robohub. Research and new Thymio projects are constantly being done as noted by IEEE. In 2020 Thymio's pedagogical design was evaluated by Education Alliance Finland. In the evaluation, a group of teacher-evaluators in Switzerland assessed Thymio's curriculum alignment, pedagogy, and usability through using a science-based product evaluation method, developed by Education Alliance Finland and Finnish educational researchers. The product evaluation was funded by Stiftung Mercator and as an outcome of the evaluation, Thymio was granted a pedagogical quality certification .
The robot is in production and distributors of Thymio include TechyKids.com.
A simulation model of the Thymio II compatible with Aseba Studio is available in Webots and a 3D interactive model of the robot can be found here.
Since August 18, 2017, the Thymio II robot is used in various international online contest on Robotbenchmark.
The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specializes in natural sciences and engineering. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer at the highest international level.
The École centrale de Lyon (ECL) is a research university in greater Lyon, France. Founded in 1857 by François Barthélemy Arlès-Dufour in response to the increasing industrialization of France, it is one of the oldest graduate schools in France. The university is part of the Grandes Écoles, a prestigious group of French institutions dedicated to engineering, scientific research, and business education. The current 45-acre campus opened in 1967 and is located in the city of Ecully.
Lego Mindstorms is a hardware and software structure which is produced by Lego for the development of programmable robots based on Lego building blocks. Each version of the system includes an intelligent brick computer that controls the system, a set of modular sensors and motors, and Lego parts from the Technic line to create the mechanical systems.
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Educational software is a term used for any computer software which is made for an educational purpose. It encompasses different ranges from language learning software to classroom management software to reference software, etc. The purpose of all this software is to make some part of education more effective and efficient.
Francesco Mondada is a Swiss professor in artificial intelligence and robotics. He got a Master's degree in Microengineering at the EPFL in 1991 and a Ph.D. degree in 1997. He is one of the creators of the Khepera and directed the design of the S-bot, the e-puck, the marXbot and the Thymio mobile robots. Together, these robots are mentioned in more than 9000 research articles. In particular the Khepera robot is a milestone in the field of bio-inspired and evolutionary robotics.
Atılım University is a private university, created in 1997. It is located in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The language of instruction for most courses is English. Education programs are at international standards. Atılım University was chosen The best universities in the World between 401-500 in 2016 by London-based The Higher Education (THE).
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments and learning spaces that can accommodate individual learning differences.
The e-puck is a small (7 cm) differential wheeled mobile robot. It was originally designed for micro-engineering education by Michael Bonani and Francesco Mondada at the ASL laboratory of Prof. Roland Siegwart at EPFL. The e-puck is open hardware and its onboard software is open-source, and is built and sold by several companies.
Webots is a free and open-source 3D robot simulator used in industry, education and research.
The Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) is part of the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. It replaced the existing Institute of Robotics, of the ETH Zurich in October 2002, when Prof. Bradley J. Nelson moved from the University of Minnesota, United States, to ETH Zurich and succeeded the Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schweitzer.
Nanosurf AG, headquartered in Liestal, Switzerland, is a manufacturer and supplier of nano-microscopes for industrial and academic research, as well as for educational purposes. Nanosurf’s atomic force microscopes (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) are used for metrological surface inspections and for the visualization of structures on the nanometer scale.
Educational robotics teaches the design, analysis, application and operation of robots. Robots include articulated robots, mobile robots or autonomous vehicles. Educational robotics can be taught from elementary school to graduate programs. Robotics may also be used to motivate and facilitate the instruction other, often foundational, topics such as computer programming, artificial intelligence or engineering design.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 is the third generation robotics kit in Lego's Mindstorms line. It is the successor to the second generation Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 kit. The "EV" designation refers to the "evolution" of the Mindstorms product line. "3" refers to the fact that it is the third generation of computer modules - first was the RCX and the second is the NXT. It was officially announced on January 4, 2013 and was released in stores on September 1, 2013. The education edition was released on August 1, 2013. There are many competitions using this set. Among them are the First Lego League and the World Robot Olympiad, sponsored by Lego.
The gamification of learning is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning. Gamification, broadly defined, is the process of defining the elements which comprise games that make those games fun and motivate players to continue playing, and using those same elements in a non-game context to influence behaviour. In other words, gamification is the introduction of game elements in a non-game situation.
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Alcherio Martinoli is a roboticist and an associate professor at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering where he heads the Distributed Systems and Algorithms Laboratory.
Makeblock is a private Chinese technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, China, that develops Arduino-based hardware, robotics hardware, and Scratch-based software, for the purpose of providing educational tools for learning. This includes programming, engineering, and mathematics through the use of robotics.
Education Alliance Finland is a business name of Kokoa Agency, a privately owned company that specializes in quality verification of educational solutions and services. Under the name Education Alliance Finland, the company has established a pedagogical quality certification for educational technology products and issued over 130 quality certifications to learning solutions globally.
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