The Bionic Flower is a robot flower inspired by the plant world. It opens and closes its petals due to external influences such as touch, approach or light. The sensor and control technology built into the Bionic Flower can be used to learn and implement these topics in a playful and motivating way in the classroom. Thus, both the design and the transfer of principles from the plant world to technology addresses the teaching of curriculum topics such as motor skills or sensor technology in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). In addition, the subject of biodiversity can also be addressed in class.
Age recommendation: from 10 years
Natural role models
Festo Didactic took the mechanisms of action of water lilies and mimosa plant as a model for the development of the Bionic Flower. These plants have one thing in common: the opening and closing of their leaves due to external stimuli.
With the help of the construction kit, students can build the drive and learn how it reacts to changes in the environment. The Bionic Flower has 15 petals and a mechanism that allows them to open and close one by one. It is controlled via WiFi using mobile devices. Working with the robot flower in teams is recommended.
The students can design the petals freely according to their own imagination. Some components can be printed or individually expanded using 3D printing technology. This is intended to awaken the joy of experimentation.
The basic functions of the robot flower can be used without programming. The microcontroller can be programmed with the graphical programming interface "Open Roberta" (https://lab.open-roberta.org/) if required. Experienced students can also program their Bionic Flower in C++. The source code is open source available on the Internet.
Sensors and lighting effects
The students can experiment with the light and distance sensors and adapt the control system to different scenarios. With the built-in LEDs, the Bionic Flower can respond to appropriate stimuli with selected colors.
Online learning environment
Accompanying teaching material and building instructions for the pupils are available online for free download.
The Bionic Flower construction kit was realized with the development partner SkySpirit GmbH and expanded in cooperation with the Open Roberta initiative founded by Fraunhofer to expand the programming options for learners.
The project-based approach of the Bionic Flower is an excellent way to convey bionic thinking and working methods in the classroom. Topics such as control and regulation, programming with microcontrollers, sensor technology, stepper motors, evolutionary principles, lightweight construction using folding structures, light and colour, sustainability, reproduction and dissemination can be addressed in the classroom. The structure with the bionics learning construction kit also promotes the following competencies of the learners: Communication, collaboration and creativity.
- Our innovative learning concept introduces the topic of bionics in a playful way.
- Teachers can convey technical content via a new, interdisciplinary educational path that optimizes learning success and guarantees fun.
- Support with didactically prepared course materials as well as theoretical and practical teaching materials for free download.
- Explorative access to the topic of bionics with a high fun factor.
- The interdisciplinary learning content can be integrated into the subjects of biology, chemistry, computer science, natural sciences, technology and, with regard to the Bionic Flower, also into art lessons in everyday school life and on project days or individual events.
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