The Karel project was selected as one of the European Commission’s success stories.
The multilateral Comenius partnership brought together four institutions from Poland, Greece, Turkey, and Romania. The purpose of the Karel project was to develop curricular materials for science and technology learning with robots. Karel is a recursive acronym for Karel – Autonomous Robot for Enhancing Learning, and it is a tribute to Karel Čapek, the Czech writer who introduced the word robot. Karel project has been initiated and coordinated by Mihai Agape.
Karel project was interdisciplinary, challenging, and promoted teamwork, innovation and lifelong learning. During the two years of the project we designed, built and tested three prototypes of Karel, an autonomous, mobile, flexible, and low-cost robotic platform for secondary schools. In order to help other people to use Karel platform we created platform’ user manual and a short robotics dictionary. These are freely available in electronic format, and are useful for the schools that want to start a robotics course.
The Karel project involved both pupils (girls, and boys ages 14 to 19), and teachers (women, and men). They used and developed their competences in mathematics, ICT, technology, sciences, curriculum design, and languages. Due to the many problematic situations that arisen, the participants developed their competence in problem solving. We cooperated inside of partnership but also with companies, and former partners’ students.
We disseminated Karel project during two international conferences: Scientix 2 (Brussels), and TTTNet (Sofia). We organized four symposiums (one in each partner’s country), and three international robotics competitions (two in Poland, and one in Romania). The participants appreciated the features of the Karel robot.
In the future, we can improve the Karel platform in many ways: adding new I/O devices; redesigning some electronics modules; write new codes; developing a visual programming environment; creating new lesson plans in different STEAM fields.
Karel User’s Manual details both, the hardware, and the software of the Karel robotic platform. The purpose of the manual is to help beginners to understand how to make, and use the robotic platform Karel. You will find information about the final prototype, but also information related to the evolution of the platform, and the intermediary prototypes. You also can find in one place the links to the different documents necessary to produce and use Karel.
The Karel Robotic Dictionary contains robotics terms that we used during the development of Karel platform. In order to develop our communication skills in English , and to clarify the meaning of some robotics terms in Karel context, we cooperated to create the robotics dictionary. The definitions includes aspects from Karel platform development.
Karel Upper Board Design. This result refers to the upper board of the Karel platform final prototype, which is an improved version of Karelino board. The upper board contains next modules: electronic switch; voltage regulators (5 V, 3.3 V, and 7 V); ATmega32U4 microcontroller; Bluetooth module BTM-182; level shifter between 3.3 V and 5 V; motor driver with DRV8833PWP; trimmer potentiometer; four user LEDs; four user pushbuttons.
Karel Lower Board Design. This result refers to the lower board of the Karel platform final prototype. The lower board accommodates three electronic modules: 2s Lithium Polymer battery charger and protection circuit; line sensor with 4 IR sensors. The lower board is also the chassis of the Karel platform; the motors, the battery and the third wheel are placed on it. We designed a single sided PCB for lower board.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This communication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.