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Design and evaluation of a DIY construction system for educational robot kits

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Abstract
Building a robot from scratch in an educational context can be a challenging prospect. While a multitude of projects exist that simplify the electronics and software aspects of a robot, the same cannot be said for construction systems for robotics. In this paper, we present our efforts to create a low-cost do-it-yourself construction system for small robots. We have created three different construction systems (laser-cut screw connectors, printed friction-fit connectors, and printed hybrid connectors) using small aluminium T-slot extrusions, based on prior work done by Industrial Design college students. Eighty-six secondary school students and 35 teachers tested these three systems during a five-day robotics contest where they had to build firefighting robots. Follow-up questionnaires and an expert evaluation were used to measure the usability, affective appraisal and functionality of the three systems in order to determine which system should serve as a basis for further design iterations. Overall, a clear preference was shown for the hybrid system, which relies on its interlocking shape as well as on a screw connection to create robot frames that are both quick to construct and very rigid once assembled. We believe our work represents a solid first step toward an inexpensive, “hackable” construction system for educational robotics.
Keywords
3D printing, Construction system, Educational robotics, User experience, DIY, STEM

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Vandevelde, Cesar et al. “Design and Evaluation of a DIY Construction System for Educational Robot Kits.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION 26.4 (2016): 521–540. Print.
APA
Vandevelde, C., wyffels, F., Ciocci, M.-C., Vanderborght, B., & Saldien, J. (2016). Design and evaluation of a DIY construction system for educational robot kits. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION, 26(4), 521–540.
Chicago author-date
Vandevelde, Cesar, Francis wyffels, Maria-Cristina Ciocci, Bram Vanderborght, and Jelle Saldien. 2016. “Design and Evaluation of a DIY Construction System for Educational Robot Kits.” International Journal of Technology and Design Education 26 (4): 521–540.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vandevelde, Cesar, Francis wyffels, Maria-Cristina Ciocci, Bram Vanderborght, and Jelle Saldien. 2016. “Design and Evaluation of a DIY Construction System for Educational Robot Kits.” International Journal of Technology and Design Education 26 (4): 521–540.
Vancouver
1.
Vandevelde C, wyffels F, Ciocci M-C, Vanderborght B, Saldien J. Design and evaluation of a DIY construction system for educational robot kits. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION. Springer Netherlands; 2016;26(4):521–40.
IEEE
[1]
C. Vandevelde, F. wyffels, M.-C. Ciocci, B. Vanderborght, and J. Saldien, “Design and evaluation of a DIY construction system for educational robot kits,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 521–540, 2016.
@article{6899382,
  abstract     = {Building a robot from scratch in an educational context can be a challenging prospect. While a multitude of projects exist that simplify the electronics and software aspects of a robot, the same cannot be said for construction systems for robotics. In this paper, we present our efforts to create a low-cost do-it-yourself construction system for small robots. We have created three different construction systems (laser-cut screw connectors, printed friction-fit connectors, and printed hybrid connectors) using small aluminium T-slot extrusions, based on prior work done by Industrial Design college students. Eighty-six secondary school students and 35 teachers tested these three systems during a five-day robotics contest where they had to build firefighting robots. Follow-up questionnaires and an expert evaluation were used to measure the usability, affective appraisal and functionality of the three systems in order to determine which system should serve as a basis for further design iterations. Overall, a clear preference was shown for the hybrid system, which relies on its interlocking shape as well as on a screw connection to create robot frames that are both quick to construct and very rigid once assembled. We believe our work represents a solid first step toward an inexpensive, “hackable” construction system for educational robotics.},
  author       = {Vandevelde, Cesar and wyffels, Francis and Ciocci, Maria-Cristina and Vanderborght, Bram and Saldien, Jelle},
  issn         = {0957-7572},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION},
  keywords     = {3D printing,Construction system,Educational robotics,User experience,DIY,STEM},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {521--540},
  publisher    = {Springer Netherlands},
  title        = {Design and evaluation of a DIY construction system for educational robot kits},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2016},
}

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