CHERP (Creative Hybrid Environment for Robotic Programming) is a hybrid tangible/graphical computer language designed to provide an engaging introduction to computer programming for young children in both formal and informal educational settings. With CHERP you can create programs for robots like the LEGO Mindstorms RCX and Lego WeDo, as well as the KIWI research prototype. CHERP was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation ( NSF grant # DRL-0735657 ) by the Developmental Technologies Group at Tufts University
CHERP allows you to create both physical and graphical computer programs to control your robot. You can create physical programs using interlocking wooden blocks, or onscreen programs using the same icons that represent actions for your robot to perform. With CHERP there is no such thing as a syntax error. The shape of the interlocking blocks and icons creates a physical syntax that prevents the creation of invalid programs. CHERP programs can be compiled in a matter of seconds with the press of a button.
How It Works
CHERP's wooden blocks contain no embedded electronics or power supplies. Instead CHERP uses the computer’s embedded camera or a standard webcam connected to a desktop or laptop computer to take a picture of your program, which it then converts into digital code using the TopCodes computer vision library.
CHERP-W for using LEGO Education's WeDo robot and Mac OS 10.6 or higher:
CHERP-W for using LEGO Education's WeDo robot and Windows XP or higher (also click here for the Read Me file for this version):
To make your own tangible blocks, please download the complete CHERP blocks making documention. In the document you can find the information about the printable stickers download (which are also included on this page (below) separately), in addition to the contact info for ordering the blocks from our local woodworkers here and online. You can download the CHERP icon files as pngs (For using the Lego RCX or Lego WeDo ) (just to print) or svgs (For using the Lego RCX or Lego WeDo) (editable Inkscape files). See CHERP software Documentation (below) for more details.
The link for downloading CHERP-W for Mac (OS 10.6 and higher) includes everything you need. Just download the linked file, open it, and drag CHERP.app to the Applications folder (or to another place of your choosing).
Please read the documentation for using CHERP with either the Lego WeDO kit, the Lego RCX kit, or the DevTech KIWI construction kit .
Supported Platforms: Windows XP or later – Note: Windows 7 is trickier but still works (see CHERP Documentation)
Required Equipment (LEGO Mindstorms RCX version):
- Two or more USB 2.0 ports
- 2 Megapixel Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 (to use the tangible programming blocks)
- LEGO Mindstorms RCX USB Tower (with RCX only)
Required Software (All except JRE are included with the CHERP installer, but depending on your OS, you may need to install them manually):
- Java 7 Development Kit ((http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/java-se-jdk-7-download- 432154.html))
- Java 6 Runtime Environment (not included) (http://www.java.com/en/)
- Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 drivers (http://www.logitech.com)
- Lego Mindstorms RCX USB tower drivers (if using the RCX kit)
- Lego WeDo drivers (if using the WeDo kits)
Required Equipment (LEGO Education WeDo version):
- Two or more USB 2.0 ports
- LEGO Education WeDo Construction kit
Required Software (All are included with the CHERP installer, but depending on your OS, you may need to install them manually):
- Java 7 Runtime Environment
- Lego Education WeDo Device Driver
See the CHERP Documentation for your robotics kit (above) for more installation details. Remember that CHERP is not a commercially available product, but a research prototype. Therefore it might have bugs and problems.
CHERP was piloted in the project Tangible Programming in Early Childhood: Revising Developmental Assumptions through New Technologies where DevTech members examined how young children used these blocks to learn about programming and storytelling. It is also currently piloted in the Ready for Robotics project. Both are generously funded by the National Science Foundation (grants DRL-0735657 and DRL-1118897)
A similar technology, also developed by Michael Horn can be found at the Boston Museum of Science.
CHERP was designed and implemented by many students working in the DevTech research group at Tufts University directed by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers: Michael Horn, Jordan Crouser, David Kiger and Safoura Seddighin. This project, which evolved through several iteration, was initially possible through collaboration between the DevTech Research Group and the Human Computer Interaction Lab at Tufts University.
NewsCHERP is now available for MAC!
Registration now open for our Summer Programs for Children 2013! For children entering K-2
Our press page has been updated as of 12/17/2012. Check out recent news here: DevTech Press ____________________
Designing Digital Experiences for Positive Youth Development: From Playpen to Playground, by Marina Umaschi Bers
DevTech TeamDevTech Director
Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers, PhD
Graduate Research Assistants:
Undergraduate Research Assistants:
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