A Two Years Informal Learning Experience Using the Thymio Robot

  • Fanny RiedoEmail author
  • Philippe Rétornaz
  • Luc Bergeron
  • Nathalie Nyffeler
  • Francesco Mondada
Conference paper


Technology is playing an increasing role in our society. Therefore it becomes important to educate the general public, and young generations in particular, about the most common technologies. In this context, robots are excellent education tools, for many reasons: (i) robots are fascinating and attract the attention of all population classes, (ii) because they move and react to their environment, robots are perceived as close to living beings, which make people attracted and attached to them, (iii) robots are multidisciplinary systems and can illustrate technological principles in electronics, mechanics, computer and communication sciences, and (iv) robots have many applications fields: medical, industrial, agricultural, safety ... While several robots exist on the market and are used for education, entertainment or both, none fits with the dream educational tool: promoting creativity and learning, entertaining, cheap and powerful. We addressed this goal by developing the Thymio robot and distributing it during workshops over two years. This paper describes the design principles of the robot, the educational context, and the analysis made with 65 parents after two years of use.We conclude the paper by outlining the specifications of a new form of educational robot.


Mobile Robot Obstacle Avoidance Lego Brick Arduino Board Programming Possibility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Roberta: Basics and experiments. Roberta Series, vol. 1. Frauenhofer IRB Verlag, Stuttgart (2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Festo didactic web site (2011),
  3. 3.
    Thymio-aseba wiki (2011),
  4. 4.
    Balogh, R.: Basic activities with the Boe-Bot mobile robot. In: Proceedings of Conference DidInfo (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cuartielles, D.: Arduino board, project web site (2011),
  6. 6.
    EPFL: Robotic festival web site (2011),
  7. 7.
    Ferrari, M., Ferrari, G., Astolfo, D.: Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms NXT. Syngress Media Inc. (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hasbro: Mr potato web site (2011),
  9. 9.
    iRobot: Company web site (2011),
  10. 10.
    Jeschke, S., Knipping, L., Liebhardt, M., Muller, F., Vollmer, U., Wilke, M., Yan, X.: What’s it like to be an engineer? robotics in academic engineering education. In: Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering, CCECE 2008, pp. 941–946 (2008), doi:10.1109/CCECE.2008.4564675Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Magnenat, S., Noris, B., Mondada, F.: Aseba-Challenge: An Open-Source Multiplayer Introduction to Mobile Robots Programming. In: Markopoulos, P., de Ruyter, B., IJsselsteijn, W.A., Rowland, D. (eds.) Fun and Games 2008. LNCS, vol. 5294, pp. 65–74. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mondada, F., Bonani, M., Raemy, X., Pugh, J., Cianci, C., Klaptocz, A., Magnenat, S., Zufferey, J.C., Floreano, D., Martinoli, A.: The e-puck, a Robot Designed for Education in Engineering. In: Gonalves, P., Torres, P., Alves, C. (eds.) Proceedings of the 9th Conference on Autonomous Robot Systems and Competitions, pp. 59–65. IPCB: Instituto Politcnico de Castelo Branco, Portugal (2009),
  13. 13.
    Mondada, F., Franzi, E., Ienne, P.: Mobile robot miniaturization: A tool for investigation in control algorithms. In: Yoshikawa, T., Miyazaki, F. (eds.) Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Simulation on Experimental Robotics, ISER 1993. LNCIS, vol. 200, pp. 501–513. Springer (1993)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fanny Riedo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philippe Rétornaz
    • 1
  • Luc Bergeron
    • 2
  • Nathalie Nyffeler
    • 3
  • Francesco Mondada
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Ecole Cantonale d’Art de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de VaudLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations