Robot Hands

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This activity (on page 2) explores how sensing is part of robotics. Learners try tying their shoes with different constraints. After tying shoes normally, learners attempt to tie their shoes while wearing thick gloves or with popsicle sticks taped to their hands so their fingers can't bend. A connection is made to the limitations of the motion of robots, and the role of design in allowing robots to perform different functions. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Shoes that tie
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Masking tape
  • Heavy gloves
  • Cloth for a blindfold
  • 2 pair of pliers


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Touch
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, ESI-0206403