Thymio in écal-EPFL workshop

Thymio in écal-EPFL workshop

by Francesco

Done with 5+ Thymio


Multiple Thymios

What is this?

This page reports on a workshop done between the école cantonale d'art de Lausanne (écal) and the MOBOTS group of the Laboratoire de Systèmes Robotiques of Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The professor in charge of the workshop was Alain Bellet (écal), with the robotics supported by Francesco Mondada (EPFL). The workshop was held with the support of Laura Perrenoud and Tibor Udvari from écal, Manon Briod and Maria Beltran from EPFL. The participants were two classes of students in interaction design of écal. The workshop took one full week.

The goal of the workshop

The goal of the workshop was defined by Alain Bellet : use 50 Thymio robots to write the sentence:

"The good thing about robots is that they do what you tell them to do.

And, the bad thing about robots is that they do what you tell them to do."

and create a video out of it. Francesco Mondada was not convinced by that goal, because writing using robots is not evident, but this was without considering the great creativity of interaction designers!!!

The final result

The workshop ended with filming the whole and creating this great clip, made by Arthur Touchais:

The making of …


First all the words of the sentence were distributed among the students. Here the planning of the week… :


Working on ideas

Then there is time to think about ideas…


… and many tests


nice ideas based on old systems


How could we put a weight there… I just have a banana with me


The nights are long


The results seem promising:


even if some test went wrong… showing that please, do not play with fire!



And finally all ideas have been tested, the programs of each Thymio written to have a "reliable" code, the accessories have been built and refined, and everybody is ready for filming. It took two days to film all the individual parts in the écal filming studio:


Thanks are due to the assistant in cinema Arthur Touchais who managed all the filming


Apéro time

And finally, on Friday afternoon, it's apéro time, with all students…


… and of course with lots of robots !!!!!


The whole was a great demonstration of creativity and professionalism by the designers, taking a very nice robot, the Thymio, which has been created in a professional way by a team of … EPFL and écal. We hope this will inspire many creators!

Download the code

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