Join us on an amazing adventure involving up to 80 students around the world remotely controlling 16 Thymio robots that have 3 hours to work together and repair a damaged power station on Mars!
Remote Rescue Thymio II (R2T2) is an innovative space mission that brings together 16 international teams of students, each remotely controlling a Thymio robot that is physically located at EPFL.
The students must work together, within and across teams, to teleoperate their robots in order to repair a power station on Mars that has been damaged by a meteor strike.
Everyone is a winner in an R2T2 mission, as the underlying philosophy is one of collaboration rather than competition.
All 16 robots must reach their positions in the station to successfully conclude the mission (and this goal is always achieved within the three hours allotted).
The mission itself is broken down into several high-level tasks, providing natural moments for discussion and strategizing amongst participants.
Teacher training and classroom-ready pedagogical materials have been developed to support learners on their first steps into the world of robotics.
Typically, the in-class part of the preparatory training is done in an experiential learning style, with each team accompanied by their own Thymio robot for testing and experimentation.
The mission itself is run via a telerobotic interface, enabling students to view the situation on Mars (EPFL) via video feed; then to design, program and transmit the desired actions for their robot from Earth (local classroom); and finally to observe the results of their strategy and iterate.
Teams are in direct communication with each other via online chat throughout the duration of the mission.
Those that finish more quickly often take a spontaneous coaching role in helping their colleagues complete their tasks.
Since 2015, R2T2 space missions have been run with over 2,000 students in 13 countries across Europe, Asia and North America and Africa.
Qualitative interviews with school teachers and extra-curricular educators who have participated in the program reveal six primary areas of perceived educational benefit: Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, Creative problem solving, Computational thinking and Cross-cultural exchange.
In addition to supporting learners in strengthening their professional and technical skills in these areas, we also note the frequently cited and not to be discounted “fun” factor, with one classroom observer sharing that “the kids didn’t even notice that they were learning because they were having so much fun!”
On the R2T2 website you’ll find more information about the schedule of upcoming missions; free, downloadable pedagogical materials; as well as anything else you might want to know about what it’s like to participate.
In addition to the 16-team Mars mission, R2T2 also offers a compact 45-minute 5-12-team Moon mission, which can be run within a single classroom or among the classes in a school.
Ad hoc missions are often possible upon request, so please don’t hesitate to send us a message to discuss what would work best for you.