UROP Project

Design and evaluation of MoBi the "Monster Bin" - a robot that helps primary school children how to properly deal with their waste.



Daniel Holder

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90695


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
UROP International, RWTH UROP
Computer Science
Organisation unit:
Chair for Individual and Technology
Language Skills:
English (fluent) and/or German (fluent)
Computer Skills:
depends on whether you choose to focus on hardware or software; programming skills in C++, python and/or micro controller programming


MoBi - short for "Monster Bin" is a robot that helps primary school children how to properly deal with their waste. It has been developed as a design concept and a low-cost prototype as part of the Student Design Competition at International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2019), where it won 1st price. MoBi is an interactive teaching robot designed for classroom interaction as a supplement to school lessons. It is designed as a friendly, orange monster with four arms attached to one of four bins: residual waste, recyclable plastics, bio waste and paper waste. It teaches the principles of the waste hierarchy - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - and correct waste separation (in the German system) using the waste produced in class as examples. For that, MoBi engages children in a pre-recorded dialog with yes-or-no questions and can move its head (pan/tilt) and eyes (LED matrices). For more information on MoBi, you can visit our website (https://www.itec.rwth-aachen.de/go/id/hxxzv?


Within your UROP internship, your task will be to continue working on the prototype. MoBi has been developed as concept and implemented as first prototype. Our goal is to get the hardware and software implementation to a stage where we can test it in user studies. Also, MoBi will be presented as part of a museum exhibition in the future. Depending on your background and skills, you can for example focus on: - Advancing the hardware set-up: Implementing the head and arm movement and improving the basic structure and body of the robot - Advancing the software: e.g., implementing speech recognition of children’s voices, improving the implementation of the dialogue and the interaction control (coordinated eye and head movements along the interaction) Our facilities offer a small Fab Lab with a workbench, materials and tools, and a 3D printer.


We are looking for students with a hands-on approach who will contribute their own ideas to our MoBi prototype and can advance the project independently. You will of course be part of our team and discuss ideas, challenges, and possible solutions with us. You should be open to and interested in interdisciplinary work, as our team consists of computer scientists, psychologists, and communication scientists. Generally, you should … - have a high interest For the hardware part you should … - be familiar with low-level programming, e.g. of micro-controllers (e.g. C) - you should have a good sense of electronics - not be afraid of tinkering with the mechanical parts For the software part, you should … - have prior experience in higher-level programming languages (e.g., C++, Python) - be familiar with common human-robot interaction methods, in particular speech recognition and/or dialogue systems - preferably have knowledge with the robotics middleware ROS