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A Toolkit To Spark Interest In Engineering Among Young Adults

  • LIU, Fang-Yin (author)
Publication Date
Jan 31, 2024
TU Delft Repository
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This project aims to introduce engineering in a way that captures students' interest. In order to motivate studernts to try it out, instead of limited by their past experience. Therefore, expanding the original knowledge of engineering during the design ideation process becomes crucial. Beginning with the identification of factors contributing to the underrepresentation of female students in the field. Additionally, this study collaborates with Cities of Things Lab 010, which strives to incorporate citizens' opinions into the neighbourhood robot design process. Hosting the workshop and making robot development accessible to all citizens. For me, I narrowed down the scope to focus on students. <br/><br/>To address the research questions, I conducted a literature review and identified two gaps: limited research on gender learning in STEM for ages above 18 and a scarcity of studies on the male perspective. I conducted surveys to address these gaps. One focused on the educational robotics toolkit, utilizing experiences of female Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) bachelor students (aged 18 to 21). <br/><br/>The other survey aimed to understand the male perspective on the current situation in the engineering field. Involving both males and females in crafting the solution creates awareness of the responsibility that everyone plays a role in this situation. It is crucial to emphasize that this thesis does not aim to generate conflict between genders. Instead, its message has the ambition of shaping a world where everyone can choose what they want to do based on their interests, free from gender stereotypes. Furthermore, I defined the design goal of the toolkit based on this message.<br/><br/>The design goal of the toolkit is to make everyone feel involved and comfortable to share their opinion in the group discussion. Encouraging the incorporation of different viewpoints and getting inspired by other people’s ideas. Ultimately, broadens the existing original impression of robotics. To visualise the design goal and validate the final concept, I developed a prototype of an inspirational toolkit with fellow students mainly from the DP3 course in the IDE bachelor program. Since the group assignment of the DP3 course is to design a cleaning robot for the campus. Utilising this toolkit to inspire students in the early stages of robot design can have a positive impact on the design process. I conducted multiple user testings to improve the prototype, considering the interplay of aesthetics, form, user experience and assembly.<br/><br/>Final design HiveMind, I conducted user testing with a group of students to validate whether the after-use effect of the prototype aligns with the design goal. All participants agreed that they feel encouraged and comfortable expressing their ideas, and the toolkit helps them get on the same page. Furthermore, the toolkit improves group discussions in the early stages of the design process, especially when everyone in the group is not familiar with each other. The validation result shows that each participant has a more diverse impression of robots after using the toolkit. However, I observed that the shape of the robot they drew for the assignment still adheres to a traditional representation of how a robot should be. This suggests that future design recommendations could focus on the relationship between picture cognitive association, the impact of different game rules, and using the toolkit before or after hands-on activities.<br/> / Integrated Product Design

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