Public Summary Month 9/2013

The effort in the past two months was focused on collecting and analyzing user feedback on the usability of the EduFill software toolbox.
The users are the students who were involved in the EPRo course where the toolbox has been used for developing robotic applications.
This includes two activities which are:
1. Analyzing the final report submitted by the students.
2. Organizing a discussion forum with the students.
As expected, both activities provide the EduFill experiment with invaluable insight for the final report and for the sustainability of the results.
The feedback gained is positive with students commenting that the EduFill software toolbox being an innovative tool which invoke their curiosity on further studying the underlying algorithms for robotic functionality provided in the EduFill software toolbox.
With such positive feedback from the user, it can be concluded that the experiment met its goal of creating a software toolbox and teaching material that is attractive and enabling for beginners in robotics to quickly build first applications and study basic principles of robotics.

With this month, the EduFill experiment officially ends.  The software toolbox as well as teaching material is available for public use on the experiment's website and on GitHub.  While officially ended, the experiment partners intent to use the created material in their routine teaching and to occassionally update the software and the teaching material.

Public Summary Month 7/2013

For the final two months of the experiment, we focus on the integrating and finalization of the results from the experiment partners (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Science and University of Verona). This efforts applies to both objectives of the experiment which are the EduFill Software Toolbox and the EduFill Teaching Curricula. For the EduFill Software Toolbox, we integrated the functionality of Lego Mindstorm in two different configuration (NXT-arm and NXT-Base) with the existing ROS based implementation for the KUKA youBot. This integration showcase two important aspects of the EduFill software toolbox:
1. The robot application development environment (EduFill blockly) is robot independent. The same blocks, that built the robot application, work in both robots (Lego Mindstorm and youBot). This characteristic is also attributed to the common use of ROS and its convention.
2. The robot software component is modular and extensible. Given the software components of robotic functionality from NXT-arm and NXT-base, it took less than two weeks to integrate the functionality to the EduFill software component.
For the EduFill Teaching Curricula, the course has been outlined into two full semester courses with each covering the three main domains of robotic functionality in mobile manipulation: 1. Perception, 2. Manipulation and 3. Navigation.  The lectures were adopted and developed from pre-existing running courses in Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Science and University of Verona and to a minor part from publicly available teaching materials, i.e. the teaching materials provided from  We intend to also make our course material available at
The final two months of the experiment until September are dedicated to further evaluating the results of a 14 weeks test-run at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of parts of the teaching material and of the software toolbox in the just completed summer term. In that course, the students experimented in the development of robotic application through the use of EduFill Blockly.

Public Summary Month 5/2013

The last two months were mostly dedicate to a trial run of the whole system at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University.  Putting our objective, to create a robot application development toolbox that can be mastered by robotic novices, at a test, we introduced the system in a 14 weeks 1st semester computer science project course. So far (2/3 into the course) we had quite positive feedback.  The students tasks in this course is to implement an exploration mode and a fetch-and-carry task.  If you are interested, feel free to contact us for the course syllabus and software (mostly online at

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Public Summary Month 3/2013

The major focus of EduFill in the past two months was on (1) updating the EduFill software toolbox based on feedback from an initial user trial and (2) extending the components in the EduFill software toolbox in preparation for a second, more thorough user trial starting March 26. On the technical side, the organization of build block in categories by complexity has been replaced by categories by application domain, as suggested by the first user trial. The focus on component development shifted from basic navigation and manipulation to perception. With the completion of a cube detections and laser scanner component, a user can already performed exploration and fetch-and-carry showcases. In addition to the extension of EduFill software toolbox, we have started the development of EduFill teaching curricula. The teaching curricula will be developed with the following consideration: 1. Hands on approach. The learning process will be coupled tightly with experimentation and implementation on actual system. 2. Modular teaching material. To accommodate different type of learner of the robotic course, the teaching curricula is designed to be modular and on session basis. 3. Narrative flow through out the whole course. Collectively, the sessions will be presented as a one continuous story beginning from a mobile manipulator in an unknown environment and end with a fully functional autonomous agent. Within the next weeks, we plan to incorporate both the software toolbox and teaching curricula in a 14 weeks project based course.

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Public Summary Month 1/2013

The past two months at both partners continued the work of the previous two. At BRSU, the main new achievement is the availability of a public beta test version of our graphical programming system, which itself is based on the 3rd-party Blockly open source framework. This first beta ( still as many rough edges and will undergo significant changes in the next months, based on internal and external feedback. The necessary runtime environment is still under heavy development, although significant progress had been made at both partners sites. In particular, at UniVR the focus has been on testing of 2D and 3D SLAM libraries, and their compatibility with the ROS software infrastructure installed on the two youBot platforms; the goal is to build a consistent 3D world model by using sensor fusion algorithms. An alternative Inverse Kinematics solution implementation, which combines base and arm motions, is under development. Both partners investigated the navigation stack of ROS, in order to evaluate the feasibility of adding a custom mobile base motion planner that would emphasize more the holonomic properties of the youBot platform.

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