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Board # 135 : MAKER: Taking Soft Robotics from the Laboratory to the Classroom

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Make It!

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Paper Authors


Andrew Jackson Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, with an emphasis on Engineering and Technology Teacher Education. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy, motivation, and decision making. Andrew is the recipient of a 2015 Ross Fellowship from Purdue University and has been recognized as a 21st Century Fellow by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. He completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation at Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. He previously taught middle school and undergraduate technology courses, accompanying both experiences with classroom research to improve practice.

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Nathan Mentzer Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Nathan Mentzer is an assistant professor in the College of Technology with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Hired as a part of the strategic P12 STEM initiative, he prepares Engineering/Technology candidates for teacher licensure. Dr. Mentzer’s educational efforts in pedagogical content knowledge are guided by a research theme centered in student learning of engineering design thinking on the secondary level. Nathan was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduation he completed a one year appointment with the Center as a postdoctoral researcher.

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Hugh Jack P. Eng. P.E. Western Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Soft robots are an emerging technology which causes us to rethink the design and fabrication of robots. The pliable material they are made of—often things like silicone or fabric—adapts to objects and tasks and have increased potential for safe human interaction. However, the driving principles behind soft robot fabrication and operations are also fundamentally different; soft robots are fabricated by material synthesis and operate using material deformation, whereas traditional robots are typically built using pre-fabricated, rigid materials, and operate using mechanical assemblies. We have adapted laboratory procedures for making soft robot grippers to fit classroom equipment and constraints. We have also extended previous outreach efforts to make these grippers by developing a 3D printed mold which affords design variation. This paper describes the roots of our work and gives an overview of a classroom process for soft robot fabrication. Other resources describing the breadth of our research with classroom-integrated soft robot design are mentioned.

Jackson, A., & Mentzer, N., & Jack, H. (2017, June), Board # 135 : MAKER: Taking Soft Robotics from the Laboratory to the Classroom Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27741

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