Flowboard is a research project that brings flow-based programming to Arduino microcontroller boards with an innovative hardware and software design.
With Maker-friendly environments like the Arduino IDE, embedded programming has become an important part of STEM education. But learning embedded programming is still hard, requiring both coding and basic electronics skills. To understand if a different programming paradigm can help, we developed Flowboard, which uses Flow-Based Programming (FBP) rather than the usual imperative programming paradigm. Instead of command sequences, learners assemble processing nodes into a graph through which signals and data flow. Flowboard consists of a visual flow-based editor on an iPad, a hardware frame integrating the iPad, an Arduino board and two breadboards next to the iPad, letting learners connect their visual graphs seamlessly to the input and output electronics. Graph edits take effect immediately, making Flowboard a live coding environment.
- Anke Brocker, Research assistant
- Mathis Müller, BSc thesis student
- Tony Zhang, Student research assistant
- Dr. Simon Voelker
- Prof. Dr. Jan Borchers
- Anke Brocker and Jan Borchers. Eight Challenges of Future Electronics Toolkits. In CHI2023 Workshop [WS2] - Beyond Prototyping Boards: Future Paradigms for Electronics Toolkits CHI ’23, pages 6, Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, April 2023.
- Anke Brocker, René Schäfer, Christian Remy, Simon Voelker and Jan Borchers. Flowboard: How Seamless, Live, Flow-Based Programming Impacts Learning to Code for Embedded Electronics. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, pages 36, number 1, March 2023.
- Anke Brocker, Simon Voelker, Tony Zelun Zhang, Mathis Müller and Jan Borchers. Flowboard: A Visual Flow-Based Programming Environment for Embedded Coding. In Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA '19, ACM, New York, NY, USA, May 2019.
- We are presenting our TOCHI paper on Flowboard live in a talk at the CHI'23 conference in Hamburg April 2023. (Feb 24, 2023)
- Our full paper about Flowboard and the results from our studies of children using it for learning embedded coding was just accepted for publication in the journal ACM Transactions on Human–Computer Interaction (TOCHI). It will appear in the publications list above upon release. (Apr 20, 2022)
- Flowboard gets an article on the Arduino blog. (Jun 10, 2019)
- Flowboard is presented as an Interactivity demo at CHI 2019 (May 4, 2019)