CARAMEL is an electronic circuit simulator that uses a block-type interface. Normally our eyes cannot see the change in voltage and the amount of current, but this system allows us to understand them visually. This system allows users to build electronic circuits phisically by arranging the electronic blocks. Synchronizeing with the blocks, simulated currents and voltages are projected onto the assembled electronic circuit.
What is CARAMEL?
In this system, we modified Lego blocks DUPLO to make electronic blocks. We named the system “CARAMEL” to make it more familiar to children. Lego blocks DUPLO are made in a large size so that even young children can play with them safely. They are made to look like colorful candies or caramels, but don't eat the blocks.
Learning current and voltage
It is reported that significant number of Japanese students are not good at or dislike the science field of electricity. One of the reasons for this may be that current and voltage are invisible to the eye. In order to understand physical concepts intuitively, it is important to create an image that is easy to understand. CARAMEL makes invisible things easy to understand by making them visible. By using familiar toy blocks, we aim to dispel the students' sense of dislike.
Visible electronic circuits
CARAMEL builds electronic circuits by arranging blocks directly on a base plate. We attached conductive materials to the blocks to create electronic blocks that actually conduct electricity. To project the current simulation onto the lined-up blocks, we measured the position of the blocks with AR markers. By checking the AR marker with a camera, we can see which block plays what role.In the future, we will be able to create electronic blocks without AR markers by attaching our current prototype circuits to the blocks and base plates. This will be an electronic block where you can actually build an electronic circuit and see the current and voltage projected onto it.
The system consists of an electronic block for the user to operate, a camera for AR detection, and a projector for projection on the block. In order to project the simulation in the same way as the electronic blocks arranged by the user, AR markers are detected. By determining the position, orientation, and type of each marker, the electronic circuit assembled by the user can be simulated.
Fun Electronic Blocks
In the CARAMEL experience, you can build and simulate series and parallel circuits. The blocks come with conductive materials, so you can actually make LEDs and bean bulbs glow. CARAMEL can be enjoyed by people of all ages, just like sweets and toys.
Let’s study the electric current and potential with CARAMEL, realize your potential.
This work is supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI Grant Number 21K12004.