Educational robotics is a broad term that refers to a collection of activities, instructional programs, physical platforms, educational resources and pedagogical philosophy.
The primary of objective of educational robotics is to provide a set of experience to facilitate the student's development of knowledge, skills and attitudes for the design, analysis, application and operation of robots. The term robot here is used quite broadly and may include articulated robots, mobile robots or autonomous vehicles of any scale. The rigor of the approach can be scaled based on the background of the target audience and may be suitable for students across the entire educational spectrum—from elementary school or graduate programs.
An alternate, or secondary, objective is to use robotics as a tangible and exciting application to motivate and facilitate the instruction other, often foundational, topics such as computer programming, artificial intelligence or engineering design.
Education and training
Robotics engineers design robots, maintain them, develop new applications for them, and conduct research to expand the potential of robotics. Robots have become a popular educational tool in some middle and high schools, as well as in numerous youth summer camps, raising interest in programming, artificial intelligence and robotics among students. First-year computer science courses at several universities now include programming of a robot in addition to traditional software engineering-based coursework.
Initiatives in schools
Since 2014, companies like Cytron Technologies has been making inroads into schools and learning centers with their rero reconfigurable robot. Designed to be easy and safe to assemble and easy to program, robotics became very accessible to young children with no programming skills and even up to advance users at tertiary level. Robotics education was heavily promoted via roadshows, science fairs, exhibitions, workshops, camps and co-sponsored classes, bringing robotics education to the masses.
Post-secondary Degree Programs
From approximately 1960 though 2005, robotics education at post-secondary institutions took place through elective courses, thesis experiences and design projects offered as part of degree programs in traditional academic disciplines, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering or computer science.
Since 2005, more universities have begun granting degrees in robotics as a discipline in its own right, often under the name "Robotic Engineering". Based on a 2015 web-based survey of robotics educators, the degree programs and their estimates annual graduates are listed alphabetically below. Note that only official degree programs where the word "robotics" appears on the transcript or diploma are listed here; whereas degree programs in traditional disciplines with course concentrations or thesis topics related to robotics are deliberately omitted.
|Estimated Number of Robotics Degrees Conferred Annually|
|Arizona State University||U.S.A||-||20||40||10||4|
|Carnegie Mellon University||U.S.A||-||-||-||79||17|
|Idaho State University||U.S.A||12||-||-||-||-|
|Johns Hopkins University||U.S.A||-||10||-||10||-|
|Lake Superior State University||U.S.A||-||20||-||-||-|
|Lawrence Technological University||U.S.A||-||-||10||-||-|
|Oregon State University||U.S.A||-||-||-||10||5|
|Roger Williams University||U.S.A||-||10||-||-||-|
|Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||U.S.A||-||20||-||-||-|
|Universidad Politecnica de Madrid||Spain||-||-||-||30||10|
|University of California - Santa Cruz||U.S.A||-||-||10||-||-|
|University of Central Florida||U.S.A||-||5||-||-||-|
|University of Detroit Mercy||U.S.A||-||-||10||-||-|
|University of Liège||Belgium||-||-||-||10||1|
|University of Massachusetts Lowell||U.S.A||-||20||-||-||-|
|University of Maryland||U.S.A||-||-||-||10||-|
|University of Michigan||U.S.A||-||-||-||10||5|
|University of Michigan-Dearborn||U.S.A||-||-||10||-||-|
|University of Montpellier||France||-||-||-||20||20|
|University of Nebraska-Lincoln||U.S.A||-||?||-||-||-|
|University of Oldenburg||Germany||-||-||-||5||1|
|University of Pennsylvania||U.S.A||-||-||-||40||-|
|University of Southern California||U.S.A||-||-||-||10||-|
|Worcester Polytechnic Institute||U.S.A||-||10||60||15||1|
|TOTAL NUMBER OF PROGRAMS||1||10||7||15||11|
|TOTAL NUMBER OF ANNUAL DEGREES||12||265||140||268||83|
The Robotics Certification Standards Alliance (RCSA) is an international robotics certification authority that confers various industry- and educational-related robotics certifications.
Summer robotics camp
Several summer camp programs include robotics as part of their core curriculum. In addition, youth summer robotics programs are frequently offered by celebrated museums such as the American Museum of Natural History and The Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley, CA, just to name a few.
Robotics afterschool programs
Many schools across the country are beginning to add robotics programs to their after school curriculum. Two main programs for afterschool robotics are botball and FIRST Robotics.
Educational robot manufacturers and platforms
|Name||Education Level||Open||Mechanical / Assembly||Features hardware||Sensors / Actuators (E / S)||Programming Languages / OS||Origin||Reference Price||External links|
|ArcBotics Sparki||Primary, Secondary, University||Yes||Pre-assembled, ABS plastic body, 2 motor wheels with arm grippers||Remote control with LCD Display. Custom controller based on Arduino Leonardo Atmega32U4RC||17 sensors, 8 indicators, 4 actuators including light, distance, speakers, colors, edge detection, and accelerometer||Arduino, C/C++, Ardublock, Minibloq, Chromebook (Codebender), Python||USA||$149 USD||http://www.arcbotics.com/products/sparki|
|Parallax BoeBot||Primary, Secondary||Yes||Aluminum chassis, microcontroller board, continuous servo drive wheels||Book included, BASIC Stamp 2 microcontroller, breadboarding area, 16 I/O pins, Serial or USB||Infrared, touch sensors, other optional sensors available||PBASIC||USA||$159 USD||https://www.parallax.com/product/boe-bot-robot|
|rero Reconfigurable Robot||Primary, Secondary, Tertiary||Yes||easy slide & lock ABS plastic modules, expandable with LEGO or 3D printed parts||Main controller, cube servos, sensor modules, joints, connectors, wheels, terminals||Cube servos, infrared and ultrasonic sensors||No skills needed for beginners, C for advanced users||Malaysia||USD475||http://rero.io|
|Fischertechnik Computing||Primary, Secondary, Vocational Education||No||Metal Construction toy||Module Robot TX is based in 32-bit ARM 9 processor, 8 MB RAM, 2 MB flash, display (128x64 pixel), monochrome||8 Universal inputs (digital/analog), 4 fast digital inputs, 4 motor outputs, connections: I2C, RS 485 ans USB||Propetary app. "ROBO Pro", C compiler||Germany||http://www.fischertechnik.de/en/Home.aspx|
|Robotis Bioloid||No||The BIOLOID platform consists of components and small, modular servomechanisms called the AX-12A Dynamixels, which can be used in a daisy-chained fashion to construct robots of various configurations, such as wheeled, legged, or humanoid robots.||Controller CM-700 based in Atmel ATMega2561||Korea||http://www.robotis.com/xe/bioloid_en|
|Robotis DARwIn-OP||University||Yes||Anthropomorphic||PC Hardware||Linux||Korea||10,000||http://www.robotis.com/xe/darwin_en|
|RoboThink||primary, secondary||No||Proprietary plastic connector pieces, gears, axles, DC Motor, Servo Motor, wheels||Mainboard based on ATMega256, USB and Bluetooth, IR Module, Sound Module, Light Module, Distance Module, Level Module, Switch, LED Module, Buzzer Module||Analog and Digital Input: 9 ports, Analog and Digital Output: 9 ports, Power Connector: 2 sets, Motor Port: 4 sets, Communication Port: 2 sets||RoboThink Coding Software (proprietary software), Scratch, Entry.||USA||100-500 USD||http://www.myrobothink.com|
|Robotis Ollo||primary, secondary||No||perforated plastic Pieces||Controller Module CM-100A||IR sensor: 3 direction / total 3 groups loaded, Sound Sensor: Embedded, Power Connector: 2 sets, Geared Motor Port: 2 sets, Multi-purpose Port: 2 sets, Communication Port: 1 set||RoboPlus (proprietary software). Accurate LN-101 external circuit for connecting USB adapter for programming roboplus.||Korea||100-400 Euros||http://www.robotis.com/xe/ollo_en http://support.robotis.com/en/techsupport_eng.htm#product/ollo_main.htm|
|Lego Mindstorm NXT||Secondary, Vocational Education, University||No||Plastic construction toy, but metals parts are offered by Tetrix||NXT está basado en un ARM AT91SAM7S256, con 256 Kb de memoria Flash y 64 Kb de RAM externa, pantalla LCD de 100x64 pixels, audio, y conexiones USB y bluetooth||Cuatro entradas para los sensores y tres salidas para actuadores||Software nativo NXT (desarrollado con National Instruments). Otros: Books, NXT-G, C# with Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, BricxCC, Next Byte Codes, Not eXactly C, Robolab, RoboMind, ROBOTC, NXTGCC, leJOS NXJ, nxtOSEK, ICON, MATLAB and Simulink, Lua, Ada, URBI, FLL NXT Navigation, ruby-nxt, Robotics.NXT, LibNXT, PyNXC, NXT-Python, Physical etoys||300 Euros||http://www.legoeducation.us/eng/categories/products/middle-school/robotics|
|Modular Robotics Cubelets||Primary, Secondary, Vocational Education, University||No||Plastic construction toy||$160 - $500 USD||http://modrobotics.com/Cubelets|
|Modular Robotics MOSS||Primary, Secondary, Vocational Education, University||No||Plastic construction toy||$199 - $550 USD||http://modrobotics.com/MOSS|
|Lego WeDo Robotics||Primary||No||Plastic construction toy||No||200 Euros||http://www.legoeducation.us/eng/categories/products/elementary/lego-education-wedo|
|Thymio II robot||primary, secondary, Vocational Education, University||Yes||Plastic compact body, connection for other construction systems||16 bit PIC24 processor||7 IR proximity sensors, 2 IR ground, 3 axis accelerometer, micro, temperature||ASEBA scripting language||Switzerland||80 Euros||http://www.thymio.org|
|Engino Robotics ERP||primary, secondary, Vocational Education||No||Plastic construction toy||32-bit ARM CORTEX-M2 micro controller, 256 Kbytes FLASH, 64 Kbytes RAM||7 input-output ports, up to 7 LED’s, up to 4 sensors digital or analogue and up to 3 motors (servo or analogue)||ERP Software||Cyprus||200 Euros||http://www.engino.com/robotics/|
|PHIRO||Primary, Secondary||No||Consists of a wheeled platform to learn coding. SWISH technology helps in comprehending complex logical and loop statements.||Controller - Atmel ATMEGA2560, in-built Bluetooth, USB charging||6 IR proximity sensors, Integrated SWISH Card reader, 2 DC motors, 2 full color RGB LEDs||Scratch and Snap! (Mac, PC), Pocket Code (Android)||India||NA||http://robotixedu.com/phiro.aspx|
|ProtoCREA||Secondary and University||Yes||Consists of a wheeled platform to learn design, programming and robotics. It has a 3D printed body.||Controller based on Arduino UNO with BT||2 continuous servos, 1 microservo, 2 ultrasonic sensors, 1 IR sensor array (3)||Scratch4Arduino (S4A), Arduino, Ardublockly, BitBloq, Android & App Inventor, C++, ROS||Spain||~€89||https://crea-robotica.com/protocrea/|
|TETRIX PRIME and TETRIX MAX||Secondary and University||Yes||Metal building sets for open-ended construction for education and competition||Metal systems with ABS connectors to enable use with LEGO NXT and EV3; can also be used with R/C controllers and other programmable options such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and myRIO.||http://www.tetrixrobotics.com|
|VEX||Primary and Secondary||No||Metal and plastic sets||http://www.vexrobotics.com|
|Sanbot||Primary and Secondary||Yes||ABS plastic body. Head, 2 arms, 3 360-degree wheels||Remote controller, touch screen (1080P), sensor modules, projector (1920x720)||51 sensor distributed on head, arms, body, legs||Platform: Linux; Languages: iFlytek, IBM Watson, Nuance; OS: ROS1.1||China||http://www.sanbot.com|
- "NASA Robotics - Robotics Alliance Project". robotics.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- CREA Robótica Educativa: company specialized on teaching technology, programming, and educational robotics (STEM) from primary to university.
- Official web of Physical Etoys - a visual programming language used in educational robotics
- Educational pick-and-place parallel robot