More than 725,000 German children started school in the past year. It is already obvious that they will need computer science skills to prevail in the professional world and in everyday life later on. Experts are therefore calling for children to be introduced to algorithms and programming languages early on. The available tools are usually rather expensive, however, and do not necessarily satisfy the children's play instincts. The start-up Fold-IO uses a combination of inexpensive craft paper cut-outs and minicomputers. Fold-IO is supported by the IT Incubator at Saarland University and funded by the German federal funding programme EXIST.
“The teaching materials available today are either overly complex, under-stimulating, or only appeal to children who already have a keen interest in programming. That is why we decided to work with a material that every child knows: paper,” says Amir Baradaran, responsible for technical development at Fold-IO. He wants to encourage children to use a hands-on approach not just on the keyboard or touch pad, but to tinker around and construct these interactive 3-D objects themselves.
In practice, it works like this: The “fold-IO Box” contains a sheet of craft paper with an owl printed on it. First, the child cuts out the animal stencil and folds it into a three-dimensional figure, following the easy-to-understand instructions provided. These also include the following challenge:
The owl is sad and wants to be stroked. Kids can now code the command “If touched, then light up eyes” themselves with the self-explanatory software, which is either executed on a website or in the corresponding app. The short programme can then be stored on a special mini-computer like the “Calliope mini”, specifically developed for primary school children, which then connects to the paper owl. Now the eyes of the paper bird will light up when the child touches the owl.
The idea was facilitated by the correspondent research project “Fold-IO”, developed by Simon Olberding as part of his doctoral thesis within the research group for Human-Machine Interaction chaired by Professor Jürgen Steimle. His technology is now protected by a patent. The researchers' prototypes were based on projects in which sensors and simple screens were printed out using conductive ink.
But the highlight of Fold-IO is the special software that makes these foldable 3-D objects possible in the first place. It lets makers create their own objects on screen in 3-D, including the desired input and output sensors with their respective functionalities. The programme automatically compiles the construction sheet which is then imprinted with the electronics required.
“We are hoping to launch a market-ready product line by the end of the year”, says Michael Kellermann, one of the other founders of the start-up, together with Lisa Brödlin. The craft kits will cost between five and 20 Euros and will also contain a Calliope mini computer. Boxes for school classes will contain up to 30 Fold-IO craft sheets and probably cost around 70 Euros.
Since April, not only the IT Incubator, a joint institution of Saarland University and Max Planck Innovation, is supporting the three young entrepreneurs, but also the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, by way of the EXIST Business Start-up Grant.
Direct Inquiries to:
Saarland Informatics Campus
Phone: +49 681 302 712 88
Tel. 0681 302-70741
Hinweis für Hörfunk-Journalisten: Sie können Telefoninterviews in Studioqualität mit Wissenschaftlern der Universität des Saarlandes führen, über Rundfunk-Codec (IP-Verbindung mit Direktanwahl oder über ARD-Sternpunkt 106813020001). Interviewwünsche bitte an die Pressestelle (0681 302-2601) richten.
Further Information: http://www.fold-io.com/
Gerhild Sieber | Universität des Saarlandes
The classroom of tomorrow – DFKI and TUK open lab for new digital teaching and learning methods
03.05.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Studying outdoors is better
06.02.2018 | Technische Universität München
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
05.06.2018 | Event News
28.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
05.06.2018 | Trade Fair News