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November  2021, 1(4): 299-308. doi: 10.3934/steme.2021019

Daran robot, a reconfigurable, powerful, and affordable robotic platform for STEM education

1. 

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Brunel University London, London, UB8 3PN, United Kingdom

2. 

Daran Ltd., Tianjin, 300192, China; 1597255167@qq.com (R.L.); cszhangtju@163.com (C.Z.)

Correspondence: Mingfeng.Wang@brunel.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 1895 266411; Tangzhao@daran.tech, Tel: +86 (0) 15222658623

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Carbone

Received  October 2021 Revised  November 2021 Published  November 2021

Robot and programming education, as a key part of STEM education, is attracting more and more attention in the education industry. In this paper, a novel open-sourced educational robotic platform, Daran robot, is proposed with key features in terms of reconfigurable, powerful, and affordable. As an entry-level robotic platform, the Daran robot consists of three individual robots, which are a Mecanum-wheeled robot, a three-wheeled robot, and a 4-DoF robot arm. Both graphical and Python programming environments are developed for students with different entry levels. Thanks to the reconfigurability, four classic constructions of the Daran robot are presented with corresponding case studies, based on which the students can practically learn basic knowledge of sensing and control technologies.

Citation: Mingfeng Wang, Ruijun Liu, Chunsong Zhang, Zhao Tang. Daran robot, a reconfigurable, powerful, and affordable robotic platform for STEM education. STEM Education, 2021, 1 (4) : 299-308. doi: 10.3934/steme.2021019
References:
[1]

Xie, Y., Fang, M. and Shauman, K., STEM education. Annual review of sociology, 2015, 41: 331-357. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145659 doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145659.

[2]

Zhou C, Li Y., The focus and trend of STEM education research in China-visual analysis based on Citespace. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2021, 9(7): 168-80. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2021.97011 doi: 10.4236/jss.2021.97011.

[3]

Elkin M, Sullivan A, Bers MU. Programming with the KIBO robotics kit in preschool classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 2016, 33(3):169-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2016.1216251 doi: 10.1080/07380569.2016.1216251.

[4]

Mio: https://www.clementoni.com/en/61893-mio-the-robot/. Accessed 17 September 2021

[5]

Cue: https://www.makewonder.com/. Accessed 22 September 2021

[6]

Fischertechnik: https://www.cedutech.com/. Accessed 22 September 2021

[7]

Peng, H. and Huang, Z.C., Design of a welding robot based on Fischertechnik combination model platform. Advanced Materials Research, 2013,619: 384-387. https://doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.619.384 doi: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.619.384.

[8]

Lego: https://www.lego.com/zh-cn/product/robot-inventor-51515. Accessed 22 September 2021

[9]

ROBOROBO: https://www.roborobo.cn/startpage#. Accessed 22 September 2021

[10] A Kurniawan, Arduino Nano A Hands-on Guide for Beginner, PE press, 2019. 
[11]

Shigemi, S., Goswami, A. and Vadakkepat, P., ASIMO and humanoid robot research at Honda. In: Goswami A., Vadakkepat P. (eds) Humanoid Robotics: A Reference. Springer, Dordrecht, 2018, 55-90. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6046-2_9

[12]

Matatalab: https://matatalab.com/zh-hans/product. Accessed 22 September 2021

[13]

Chen, J. Research on design and development of tangible programming curriculum in primary school based on computational thinking -take Matatalab tangible programming robots as an example (in Chinese), Master Thesis, Shanghai International Studies University, 2021.

[14]

WeeeMake: https://www.weeemake.com.cn/weeebot-mini. Accessed 22 September 2021

[15]

DFRobot: http://www.dfrobot.cn/?tag=dfrobot. Accessed 22 September 2021

[16] A Kurniawan, Arduino Nano A Hands-on Guide for Beginner, PE press, 2019. 
[17]

Raspberry Pi Zero W: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-zero-w/. Accessed 17 September 2021

[18]

Sudhakara, P., Ganapathy, V., Priyadharshini, B. and Sundaran, K., Obstacle avoidance and navigation planning of a wheeled mobile robot using amended artificial potential field method. Procedia computer science, 2018,133: 998-1004. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2018.07.076 doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2018.07.076.

show all references

References:
[1]

Xie, Y., Fang, M. and Shauman, K., STEM education. Annual review of sociology, 2015, 41: 331-357. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145659 doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071312-145659.

[2]

Zhou C, Li Y., The focus and trend of STEM education research in China-visual analysis based on Citespace. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2021, 9(7): 168-80. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2021.97011 doi: 10.4236/jss.2021.97011.

[3]

Elkin M, Sullivan A, Bers MU. Programming with the KIBO robotics kit in preschool classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 2016, 33(3):169-86. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2016.1216251 doi: 10.1080/07380569.2016.1216251.

[4]

Mio: https://www.clementoni.com/en/61893-mio-the-robot/. Accessed 17 September 2021

[5]

Cue: https://www.makewonder.com/. Accessed 22 September 2021

[6]

Fischertechnik: https://www.cedutech.com/. Accessed 22 September 2021

[7]

Peng, H. and Huang, Z.C., Design of a welding robot based on Fischertechnik combination model platform. Advanced Materials Research, 2013,619: 384-387. https://doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.619.384 doi: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.619.384.

[8]

Lego: https://www.lego.com/zh-cn/product/robot-inventor-51515. Accessed 22 September 2021

[9]

ROBOROBO: https://www.roborobo.cn/startpage#. Accessed 22 September 2021

[10] A Kurniawan, Arduino Nano A Hands-on Guide for Beginner, PE press, 2019. 
[11]

Shigemi, S., Goswami, A. and Vadakkepat, P., ASIMO and humanoid robot research at Honda. In: Goswami A., Vadakkepat P. (eds) Humanoid Robotics: A Reference. Springer, Dordrecht, 2018, 55-90. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6046-2_9

[12]

Matatalab: https://matatalab.com/zh-hans/product. Accessed 22 September 2021

[13]

Chen, J. Research on design and development of tangible programming curriculum in primary school based on computational thinking -take Matatalab tangible programming robots as an example (in Chinese), Master Thesis, Shanghai International Studies University, 2021.

[14]

WeeeMake: https://www.weeemake.com.cn/weeebot-mini. Accessed 22 September 2021

[15]

DFRobot: http://www.dfrobot.cn/?tag=dfrobot. Accessed 22 September 2021

[16] A Kurniawan, Arduino Nano A Hands-on Guide for Beginner, PE press, 2019. 
[17]

Raspberry Pi Zero W: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-zero-w/. Accessed 17 September 2021

[18]

Sudhakara, P., Ganapathy, V., Priyadharshini, B. and Sundaran, K., Obstacle avoidance and navigation planning of a wheeled mobile robot using amended artificial potential field method. Procedia computer science, 2018,133: 998-1004. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2018.07.076 doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2018.07.076.

Figure 1.  Overview of Daran educational robotic platform: (a) Mecanum-wheeled robot, (b) two-wheeled robot, (c) 4-DoF robot arm, and (d) illustration of hardware components
Figure 2.  Detailed illustration of electrical components in Daran educational robotic platform: (a) servomotor, (b) master control board, and (c) sensors
Figure 3.  Illustration of the software interface of Daran robotic platform: (a) robotic platform window, (b) graphical programming environment, and (c) Python programming environment
Figure 4.  Case study Ⅰ: obstacle avoidance of three-wheeled robot based on ultrasonic sensing
Figure 5.  Case study Ⅱ: path following/tracking of a four-wheeled robot based on infrared sensing
Figure 6.  Case study Ⅲ: pick-and-place with a 4-DoF robot arm
Figure 7.  Case study Ⅳ: territory scramble of two reconstructed robots (a four-wheeled robot and a 4-DoF robot arm)
Table 1.  List of robotic platforms for STEM education
Robotic Platform Aiming Age Country Program Pattern Assembly needed Material Open-sourced Price (£)
KIBO [3] 4-24 USA graphical/code Y plastic N 160-433
Mio [4] 8-12 USA graphical/code N plastic N 156
Cue [5] 5-12 USA graphical Y plastic N 110-147
Fischertechnik [6,7] 13+ Germany graphical Y plastic N -
Lego [8] 3-16 Denmark graphical Y plastic/metal N 385
ROBOROBO [9,10] 8-13 Korea code N metal N -
Honda [11] 18+ Japan graphical N plastic N -
Matatalab [12,13] 4-9 China graphical Y metal N 110-258
WeeeMake [14] 5-12 China graphical N plastic N 114-148
DFRobot [15,16] 7-16 China graphical Y plastic N 29-74
Robotic Platform Aiming Age Country Program Pattern Assembly needed Material Open-sourced Price (£)
KIBO [3] 4-24 USA graphical/code Y plastic N 160-433
Mio [4] 8-12 USA graphical/code N plastic N 156
Cue [5] 5-12 USA graphical Y plastic N 110-147
Fischertechnik [6,7] 13+ Germany graphical Y plastic N -
Lego [8] 3-16 Denmark graphical Y plastic/metal N 385
ROBOROBO [9,10] 8-13 Korea code N metal N -
Honda [11] 18+ Japan graphical N plastic N -
Matatalab [12,13] 4-9 China graphical Y metal N 110-258
WeeeMake [14] 5-12 China graphical N plastic N 114-148
DFRobot [15,16] 7-16 China graphical Y plastic N 29-74
Table 2.  Specification of the Daran robotic platform
Robot Name Dimension (L*W*H, mm) Weight (g) Motors No. & torque (Nm) Power supply (V) Price (£)
Mecanum-wheeled robot 212*164*88 942 4 / 1.5 7.4 57
Three-wheeled robot 110*123*90 545 2 / 1.5 7.4 25
4-DoF robot arm 158*100*115 777 4 / 1.5 7.4 47
Control package / - 0 7.4 92
Total / 2264 10 7.4 220
Robot Name Dimension (L*W*H, mm) Weight (g) Motors No. & torque (Nm) Power supply (V) Price (£)
Mecanum-wheeled robot 212*164*88 942 4 / 1.5 7.4 57
Three-wheeled robot 110*123*90 545 2 / 1.5 7.4 25
4-DoF robot arm 158*100*115 777 4 / 1.5 7.4 47
Control package / - 0 7.4 92
Total / 2264 10 7.4 220
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