Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Elektor Award – Will this robot rescue the Flemish technical education?

Yes! according to the creator of the robot. Bart Huyskens has been busy developing a number of robots which can be used for educational purposes, and he's noticed a significant increase of interest amongst students because of it.
The amount of students has doubled in schools where robots are being used in technology lessons, and the classrooms are filling up again.

This is good news for the Flemish Ministry of Education. A few years ago they started putting up Regional Technical Centres where (with government funding) education and companies work together on new initiatives, which are meant to attract more students towards technical education. But its not only for students; teachers can get extra after-school schooling on new technologies.

Bart has his hands full developing the robots. With the help of sensors they can speak to students, follow a pattern across classrooms, play and dance to music all of which keeps the techno-hungry crowd pleased. Thanks to Technical Centre funding there are now 14 robots available for use to the students of St. Jozefinstituut in Schoten, and two more will start touring with the TechnoTrailer.

The students will be able to program the robots for different kinds of utilities. The robot itself runs on E-block technology and speaks Flowcode, but is fluent in Flemish as well.

Bart's enthusiasm has played a big part in the success of the robots. In the past couple of years he has developed the concept, managed to sell it and make a full-fledged product. More importantly: he has managed to interest new groups of students towards electronics, and that's certainly Worth an Award!

Bart Huyskens is hereby nominated for the Elektor Foundation Award 2009.
The granting of this international award will take place during Elektor Live! on the 21 of November in Eindhoven, Holland.

For more information:
- on the Technical Centres can be found at (NL and Flamish)
- on the Elektor Foundation Award: