Jul 26, 2017 | By Tess

A key part of inspiring kids to get engaged with STEM learning is providing them with fun and hands-on ways to learn the material. As we’ve seen, 3D printing technologies have played an important role in this, but so have a number of other unique projects.

Take Photon, an educational robot that develops and learns at the same time as the child using it, as a prime example. The innovative and child-friendly robot was developed by a team of Polish researchers and prototyped in partnership with 3D printing company Zortrax.

According to the story told by its makers, Photon comes from another planet and was on his way to Earth when his ship collided with an asteroid. The crash, which brought him down to our planet, caused the small robot to lose all his abilities. The idea is that kids can help Photon to relearn all his tricks and abilities through programming tools.

The adorable robot, which was prototyped using 3D printing, is equipped with a number of sensors which enable it to detect obstacles, experience touch, light-up, make sounds, communicate with other robots, and more. The idea is that when kids receive the robot it cannot fulfill these tasks and must be taught (via a kid-friendly programming app) how to do them.

“[The robot and child] are learning together about their limitations and opportunities by a series of experiments. The robot knows only what the child taught him, who by the same time learns the basics of programming, logical thinking and quick decision making,” reads a press release about the learning robot.

Photon was recently featured in a Kickstarter campaign which attracted more than 300 backers and raised over $50,000. This funding will enable Photon’s producers to bring the bot into production as well as to open a production line for Photon this summer. There are a number of different versions of the educational robot, including one geared to kids and one geared to classroom settings. The latter can reportedly be used to help teach mathematics, the Polish language, or biology in addition to programming.

Managing director of Photon Entertainment, Marcin Joka, commented: “Our team comes from Bialystok University of Technology, and that is why we think programming is as important as reading and writing, and knowing how to communicate with machines and computers is very important. Photon teaches kids the basics of this communication, the rules of the device and the logic of the programming. Additionally, the process is designed in an interesting and engaging way.”

Polish 3D printing company Zortrax emphasized its role in developing the Photon robot, as it says its 3D printers were used to additively manufacture parts for the first 25 test version of Photon. Having viable 3D printed prototypes enabled Photon Entertainment to dispatch its early robots for testing and to receive valuable feedback from children who participated in its pilot program. Zortrax also reportedly 3D printed a number of promotional materials for the Photon robot.

According to Photon Entertainment, the Photon robot will soon be available for consumers and educational institutions.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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