College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Biomedical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Biomedical Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Mechanical Engineering

College - Author 3

College of Engineering

Department - Author 3

Electrical Engineering Department

Degree - Author 3

BS in Electrical Engineering

College - Author 4

College of Engineering

Department - Author 4

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree - Author 4

BS in Mechanical Engineering



Primary Advisor

Karla Carichner, College of Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department


Presently, there is an insufficient availability of human experts to assist students in reading competency and comprehension. Our team’s goal was to create an improved socially assistive robot for use by therapists, teachers, and parents to help children and adults develop reading skills while they do not have access to specialists. HAPI is a socially assistive robot that we created with the goal of helping students practice their reading comprehension skills. HAPI enables a student to improve their reading skills without an educator present, while enabling educators to review the student's performance remotely. Design constraints included: physical size, weight, duration of user engagement, chamber temperature, device memory size, and durability. From three different initial concepts, we chose HAPI the Librarian (Hand Articulating Phone Interface), named after the idea of securing the phone in the robot’s hands, much like a librarian reading during story-time. By creating an initial prototype, we were able to verify the functionality of several key design features, including the phone tilt mechanism and the antenna tilt mechanism. In our analysis, we used calculation to find the ideal DC motor speed and maximum current draw. After exploring possibilities of using a third-party vendor to print the robot, we concluded it was not the most economical option. We were able to print the robot in one of the team member’s homes using an Ultimaker 2+ printer. Our printed circuit board (PCB) design was manufactured via a third-party vendor, Sunstone circuits. Components were ordered online, and the robot was assembled by team members. In our final design, main components include the phone tilt mechanism, antenna wiggle mechanism, LED screen, and android phone. The phone user interface guides the user through reading a passage, then answering reading comprehension questions. The robot gives positive or constructive feedback based on the correctness of response through audio, antenna movement, LED screen changes, and changes in the phone screen. Major electrical components include the Raspberry Pi 4, which controls the motors and power; the Power Distribution Board (PDB), which provides power isolation; and the LED Array, which displays the robot facial expressions. The entire assembly was designed for ease of assembly and disassembly. To verify the functionality of the device, we tested the electrical wiring integrity, durability, and steady state chamber temperature. We also completed user testing on 5 participants, ages 6 through 9. Robot usability was accessed over video call during the session and through a participant survey. Based on the performance, we made changes to the final design. The team plans on passing off the robot to the project sponsors so development of the robot can continue. Next steps will likely include more user testing, as well as testing focused specifically on students with speech impairments. To improve the current system, we recommend improving the software for reading analysis and making changes to increase the compatibility and accessibility of the device.