One of the major goals of our Bionic Learning Network is to get young people interested in technology. The Bionics4Education project now brings the world of bionics together with the education sector. With the interactive educational concept, the variety of topics in bionics can now also be experienced in the classroom: It consists of a digital learning environment and a practical training kit with which the students can build bionic prototypes in a creative way.
The first training kit to be launched in 2018 under the name of Bionics Kit in Germany and the USA is aimed at students between the ages of 14 and 18. The Bionics Kit gives young people the opportunity to approach tasks in an uncomplicated and creative way using bionic methods – for example when building a practical bionic fish model, a chameleon gripper or an elephant's trunk with an adaptive gripper with Fin Ray Effect®.
As basic equipment the case contains all necessary components to be able to start with the design. These include commercially available small servo motors, electronic components or plastic elements such as Fin Ray® structures. The students' task is to combine these with materials they have selected themselves in an imaginative and meaningful way. Cable binders, sandbags, cardboard, foam rubber and much more are suitable for this, so that every young person can design his or her individual and reusable model variant.
The Bionics Kit contains the material to build three different bionics projects: bionic chameleon gripper, bionic fish and bionic elephant trunk with adaptive gripper with Fin Ray Effect®.
In addition to the hardware, this website www.bionics4education.com provides a free learning environment. It supports young people's learning with further content on bionics and helpful tips for practical implementation in class or at home. Instructional videos, software codes or CAD data for printing components on your own 3D printer are also provided free of charge. The website is available in German and English.
The contents are free of charge and, on the one hand, are intended to help students during assembly and programming. Through the holistic educational approach, children and young people learn in a playful way to build their own animal robots inspired by nature and then to control them remotely via interfaces such as a PC, tablet or smartphone.
On the other hand, the learning environment provides the teachers with biological methodological background material. The website enables educators to create a project-based learning experience for their students that focuses on creativity, innovation and problem solving. Against this background, all teaching materials have been designed with the support of our Festo Didactic education experts for use in education and teaching.
The idea of the training kit arose from the countless previous models made during the development phases of various bionics projects – such as the FlexShapeGripper or the Bionic Handling Assistent. The learning effects of our engineers were not only to be preserved, but also prepared and made available for the education of young people.
With the help of the bionic education kit, theory becomes simple practice – in the form of motivating and inspiring experimentation. The interdisciplinary learning contents can be integrated in the subjects of biology, physics, technology and computer science in everyday school life, on project days or at individual events.
As bionics is a central link between biology and engineering, this offering is a perfect addition to every integrative STEM training program. School classes, working groups or curious individual researchers can either make a start in bionics with the pre-equipped case or organize and set up everything from A to Z themselves.