Researchers at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico have recently created a low-cost robotic arm that could enhance online robotics education, allowing teachers to remotely demonstrate theoretical concepts explained during their lessons. This robotic arm, presented in a paper published in Hardware X, is fully open source and can be easily assembled by all teachers and educators worldwide.
The robotic arm uses a mathematical process called kinematics. Direct kinematics consists of using matrices with the desired joint angle values to determine the position of the end effector. On the other hand, indirect kinematics are mainly trigonometric equations that create relations between lengths and angles to calculate how the joints of the arm need to move for the end effector to reach a given point or trajectory in space.
In contrast with other existing robotic arms, this arm has low production costs. It can also be connected to WiFi sources and can be controlled remotely via an online app. This makes it ideal for remote learning, as it allows teachers and students who are communicating over the internet to experiment with the same arm. In addition, the program it is based on allows users to easily access every command and parameter behind the arm's movements, which can further support learning and enhance each student's understanding of the processes underpinning a robot's behavior.