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203 During the initial stages of design, it is not uncommon to find an architect scribbling furiously with a thick pencil. Later in the design process, however, one might not be surprised to encounter the same individual in front of a computer monitor, manipulating three dimensional models in a series of activities that seem completely divorced from their… (More)
listened to a talk by the head of a prominent design school recently. He explained that the school's philosophy is to train students to analyze the needs of their users in order to design reasonable products. Ethnographies, focus groups, cog-nitive modeling: Interaction design, at least, has become a process dedicated to catering to the user. It seems as… (More)
We describe work in progress on roBlocks, a computational construction kit that encourages users to experiment and play with a collection of sensor, logic and actuator blocks, exposing them to a variety of advanced concepts including kinematics, feedback and distributed control. Its interface presents novice users with a simple, tangible set of robotic… (More)
Distributed computational toys are physical artifacts that function based on the coordination of more than one computing device. Often, these toys take the form of a microcontroller network embedded in a children's construction kit. We present a survey of distributed computational toys. Although most of the toys we surveyed were built in the last five years… (More)
The roBlocks construction kit is a tangible concurrent programming environment that encapsulates sensory, kinetic, and computational behavior in modular building block units that snap together to construct robots. The choice of a protocol for propagating values through the constructed robot affects its behavior.
In this paper we describe an optimal reconfiguration planning algorithm that morphs a grounded truss structure of known geometry into a new geometry. The plan consists of a sequence of paths to move truss elements to their new locations that generate the new truss geometry. The trusses are grounded and remain connected at all time. Intuitively, the… (More)
The Modular Robotics Studio will engage participants in a structured exploration (guided play) and reflective discussion of the principles and practice of building interactive experiences with a modular reconfigurable construction kit of robot components.
We present progress with roBlocks, a reconfigurable modular robotic system for education. Children snap together small, magnetic, heterogeneous modules to create larger, more complex robotic constructions. The design of the system is described and the algorithms that handle data transfer and manipulation are explained. Users tend to begin exploring the… (More)
Design is fundamental. In various forms, it permeates engineering, management, architecture and the arts. Design aptitude separates the visionary from the technician. Although many skills, like math or technical writing, are straightforward to quantify and teach, the creativity and processes inherent in design are both more difficult to instill and more… (More)