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Title:Gauging student interests and comfort with robotics terms after participating in a soft robotics activity
Author(s):Fu, Tianshi
Advisor(s):Goldstein, Molly H; Krishnan, Girish
Department / Program:Industrial&Enterprise Sys Eng
Discipline:Systems & Entrepreneurial Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Soft Robotics
Pilot Study
Soft Robotics Toolkit
Robotics Terms
Abstract:Robotics has been successfully used in a wide array of educational applications, from K-12 classrooms in the pre-engineering setting to university laboratories teaching advanced applications. However, studies revealed that the participants in robotics education are predominantly male. It is indicated that women are more inclined to participate in engineering activities including robotics, if there are identifiable human-centric benefits or applications. Soft robotics is a specific field of robotics where low modulus or high compliance materials are used to construct the robots. Due to its special material properties, soft robotics have been used in broad human-centered applications and have the potential to attract a diverse audience. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of using soft robotics as an introductory tool into the field of robotics, a role usually filled by its traditionally rigid counterpart. During the spring semester of 2020, we conducted a pilot study with a group of students from the University Laboratory High School to compare students’ comfort level with basic robotics terms before and after experiencing a soft robotics activity. The research team prepared kits containing necessary components to build several types of soft robots and the participants were able to complete the building activities within three class periods. Using pre- and post-activity surveys, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Data analysis shows that student participants displayed a noticeable change in comfort on the robotics terms suggesting soft robotics is an adequate alternative to rigid robotics as an introductory tool for robotics.
Issue Date:2020-12-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Tianshi Fu
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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