Toys design for educational robotics and STEM labs



DENSA (Developing Edutainment for New Skills and Attitudes)

A series of objects made of wood, paper, 3d printed PLA useful for children's laboratory activities thought and planned by DENSA. 

DENSA is a social enterprise whose mission is to build learning spaces through game in which children, teens and adults are encouraged to develop their attitudes to transform them into skills useful to design their professional and personal future. Through these activities, children approach different themes such as environmental sustainability, new technological possibilities, civic commitment, the relationship with beauty and art.Below are shown three different labs which are based on analog supports and instruments specially designed for use in combination with different educational robots: Il trasporto del futuro (Transport of the future); There is no planet B; Preferisco il colore del mare (I prefer the color of the sea).

Photo credit: Luca Perazzolo;

Stefano Coviello.

"Il trasporto del futuro" (Transport of the future) is a game and learning platform for  6 -12 years old made of wood and where the only two colors used are the natural wood color and the green for trees in the sustainable city. Inside this wooden city, of which we can decide the density and the relationship between trees and buildings, the goal is to introduce the basics of coding through the programming of a robot with wheels (mBot Robot connected with mBlock Blockly App for iPad, both developed by Makeblock) In this case the learning experience focuses on the disclosure of one of the latest research of Mit Senseable City Laboratory, founded by Carlo Ratti in collaboration with Mit Media Lab, which highlights how private cars are actually parked for 95 % of the time. Il trasporto del futuro leads children to design ways of moving in ecological cities capable of responding to the environmental needs.

There are over 7 billion people in the world. 3 billion live in urban areas and produce 1.3 billion tons of solid waste every year. In 2025, waste production will rise to 2.2 billion tons per year. The images of the Dandora landfill display new landscapes born from the accumulation of waste. Mountains crossed by men, women and children who pass through it daily and work inside it. What if this activity was in the hands of robots?

The activity "There is no planet B" takes place on a carpet, that recalls the image of a road, on which will be positioned wood elements that represent different types of waste: paper, plastic, aluminum. Participants (4 -7 years old) will have to learn to drive, through the use of a tablet, Photon (educational robot)  to make it drag the waste to be differentiated in the right way.

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A mix of materials makes up the environment of "Preferisco il colore del mare" (I prefer the color of the sea): wood, paper and PLA (the 3D printing compostable filament). Focused on the fragility of the sea and its inhabitants, the experience is designed to take place on wooden platform engraved with a grid and involves the participants (children from 6 to 9 years old) in imagining some paths that the robot Ozobot Bit (produced by Ozobot & Evollve) will have to take to move from a point A to a point B. The points are reproductions of sick and healthy coral reef made with 3D printing process.

The goal is to replicate the repopulating action of the habitats destroyed by climate change as researchers from Queensland University of Technology, supported by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, are doing through a small robot.