Phixels are self-configuring robots for spatial learning that freely moves around and forms shapes. With the help of Rene, Phixel's digital assistant, Phixels enable kids to see, touch, feel

and play with their imagination through tactile and 3D structural learning experience.


Fall 2017

Concept development/ Storytelling



Robots, to be or not to be?


This project was to imagine the future with A.I. robots and whether humans will be able to coexist with them or not. By throwing a question of what it means to be ‘human' in the future where we would have to live with robots with highly developed artificial intelligence, and how could we lead meaningful lives and coexist with them, and not be replaced by what we have created. 

How can we prepare future generations to develop their capabilities as human beings, and to understand how to collaborate with AI?

"65% of the students in primary school will have jobs that don’t exist yet."


-World Economic Forum

phixel logo-01.png

Phixels are interactive 3-dimensional pixels. Small spheres embedded with miniature robotics are orchestrated by a tabletop computer surface to form dynamic compositions. As with other forms of computer rendering, Phixels animate in a more physical medium that users can interact with through voice, touch and other input devices.


Guiding students with their own lessons with the

help of technology, while teachers take on more

of a coaching role if problems emerge.




 Hands-on experience

 Engaging more senses and making learning active

 Creating a context for long-term memory.

 Relevant to real-time application.

 Making impossible experience possible. 

 Building social-emotional skills.


Embracing Curiosity

Tinker & Imagine

Encouraging experimentation & making mistakes

Pushing boundaries

Building social intelligence to connect & collaborate

Spatial visualization platform 


Phixels are education robots for building an object or express an imaginary subject matter. This allows both creators and viewers to touch, see and feel tactile 3D structures.

Phixels come to life with the assistance of ”Rene“, Phixel's AI operating system. Rene can answer questions and make conversations while children interact through play, asking questions and telling stories from their imagination.



Permanent Magnets

Sensor /computer chip compartment

Graphene-reinforced plastic shell


Phixel highlights its physicality as a robot to tinker with children’s curiosity and imagination. Inspired by modular swarm robots based on nanotechnology, each Phixel bot is extremely flexible and versatile in forming its shape. 

It encourages experimentation and making mistakes. It provides a tactile and spatial experience which also can let visually impaired people have an effective learning experience.

Phixel station is where Phixels are stored and manipulated under the control of its own A.I. operating system Rene. Rene sends out the electric signals to control Phixels through Phixel board, an electromagnetic field. It receives the commands from Rene, translates those into an electric signal which then gets sent out to each Phixel’s sensors that enables them to move, configure and disassemble.


Graphene reinforced OLED screen

Height adjustable leg frame

Electromagnetic sensor board 

Main computer board

Phixel nest

Customizable textile-covered shell

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Just like a pencil and a piece of paper, a lump of clay, a piano, or a computer have been helped us to express our ideas and solve problems to expand our possibilities, Phixels will introduce us to a new way of self-expression and problem-solving. 


It will nurture new generations to become more

self-aware as human beings, adaptive to unknowns, be more experimental with their creativity to navigate through the new environments.