Interactive Robotic Fish: A Tool for Informal Science Learning and Environmental Awareness

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Robotics has often been proposed as a tool to support informal science education through hands-on activities and learning across fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, instances in which robots have been effectively integrated into informal science learning events are rare, and data on participants' learning and engagement are even harder to find. We present the deployment of a new robotic fish controlled by an iDevice application at a series of informal science learning events. Visitors to the exhibit are offered a unique learning experience and can interact with the robotic fish through a range of control modalities, highlighting the principles of autonomy and remote operations. Data collected on visitor interactions with the application indicate a longer time usage for more interactive control modes with less autonomy. Moreover, survey data garnered after the interaction with the robots suggest that visitors are concerned about the environmental issue of marine pollution and they are eager to learn more. This platform can serve as the basis for systematically exploring the potential of robotics in informal science education by combining refined data collection with interactive control.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine
StatePublished - 2015


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