Educational robots to introduce children to robotics, physics, programming
November 29, 2011
EPFL scientists have developed an educational robot called Thymio II, designed to introduce children to technology in school and priced inexpensively (about 99 francs, or $110 U.S.).
Thymio II has sensors and associated LEDs, and can exhibit a wide range of behaviors that can be used in teaching physics and other subjects. Sensors include proximity sensors, ground-directed sensors (it can detect the edge of a table around which it’s circulating, or a line to follow), accelerometers, microphone, and temperature sensor. It also has a memory card for recording sound.
Basic behavior modes include “friend” (follows an object in front of it), “explorer” (avoids obstacles), “coward” (detects impacts and empty space), and “investigator” (follows a line on the ground). By hooking it up to a computer via USB cable, users can invent and program other behaviors, using open-source EPFL-developed software called Aseba .
No word if iOS and Android interfaces are planned, or about its availability in the U.S. and elsewhere.
More information [link]