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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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MLA
Vandevelde, Cesar, et al. “Design and Evaluation of a DIY Construction System for Educational Robot Kits.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN EDUCATION, vol. 26, no. 4, Springer Netherlands, 2016, pp. 521–40, doi:10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1.
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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1
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): 521–40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1.
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. doi:10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1.
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. 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://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9324-1}},
  volume       = {{26}},
  year         = {{2016}},
}

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