logo en full


During my flight to Earth, my spacecraft crashed into an asteroid. Its parts scattered all over the world and now children help me find them. This is a story of Photon, an educational robot, developed by experts specializing in gaming and creation of user experience, in collaboration with psychologists from SWPS University. The robot has been designed to help children learn new technology skills, such as programming, and to stimulate their social and emotional development.

2 in 1: New Technologies and Psychology

The times when kids sat in front of desktop computers, during information technology classes, are the thing of the past. “Every parent knows that children love computer games”, explains Marcin Joka, CEO of Photon Entertainment. “We wanted to create an application that would help kids to develop logical thinking and basic programming skills through play and competition. We employed gaming techniques to motivate children to overcome challenges and to learn. We have also applied elements of Role Playing Games (RPG), so that everyone can customize their robot as they please.”

Photon combines psychology and new technologies. While playing with Photon, children follow a story developed in cooperation with psychologists from SWPS University. “We wanted the robot to not only improve kids’ learning skills, but also assist in their psycho-social development. The robot helps to recognize emotions (including negative feelings), make decisions, and connect with the surrounding environment”, says Katarzyna Żukowska, psychologist from SWPS University specilizing in new technologies.

The psychologists were tasked with adapting the story of Photon and the challenges of the game in such a way that they would help children to learn basic social behaviors and communication skills apart from developing their technical competencies, such as programming and logical thinking. The robot also helps to develop coping strategies for dealing with emotions, including negative feelings. Moreover, the psychologists have developed a system, which monitors the learning progress of each user. For example, the application measures improvement in the short term memory.

What is more, children interacting with the robot complete tasks not only in the virtual world, on the screen of a tablet, but also in the real environment. Some tasks require help from the parents.

Photon meets the needs of the fast changing social and economic environment, which requires logical thinking, good orienteering in the virtual reality, and programming skills. However, it is important to carefully design each human-robot interaction and take into consideration the potential influence machines may have on people. It is especially important in the case of toys designed for children, which should include development capabilities and educational elements. “Since we cannot avoid contact with new technologies, we should employ them to serve our purposes and we can use psychological knowledge to do this. Photon has been especially designed to combine education and social development components, both very important for children”, summarizes Krzysztof Rzeńca, psychologist from SWPS University.

Makers of Photon

Photon, the educational robot, has been created by Photon Entertainment in cooperation with SWPS University. The educational version of Photon will appear in schools in Poland, in September 2017, while the retail launch is planned for December 2017.

Photon Entertainment was founded by Marcin Joka, Krzysztof Dziemiańczuk, Michał Bogucki, Maciej Kopczyński, and Michał Grześ, four students and an academic teacher from the Bialystok University of Technology. The team has an extensive experience in the fields of robotics and information technology. They won numerous awards in national and international competitions, including contests organized by Microsoft and Phillips. They have been recognized in Generation of the Future, a program developed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, addressed to young inventors, constructors, programmers, scientists and innovators, studying at Polish universities and representing Poland at competitions and contests around the world. They are also members of the Top500Innovators and are on the New Europe 100 list that includes the top young innovators from the region. Michał Grześ worked as the coordinator of the Hyperion 2 Mars Rover, which won the University Rover Challenge 2014 and 2013. Marcin Joka, the CEO of Photon Entertainment, was nominated to the MIT Innovators under 35 list.

The team of psychologists and experts from SWPS University’s Business Engagement Center and StressLab, who have helped to develop the application, includes Katarzyna Żukowska, Krzysztof Rzeńca and Natalia Michalak.

Programs in English
at SWPS University

Popular Science Blog

Popular Science Blog 12-12-2017

New Year’s Resolutions or How to Achieve Your Goals

Making a permanent change in your life requires stepping out of your comfort zone. It demands effort and sacrifice that come not only from your willingness to put in the...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 01-12-2017

Emotional Decluttering Before the Holidays

December is the time of year conducive to looking back at the year that was, a time for a little bit of soul searching and summarizing what went well and...

Read more

Psyche Space 29-11-2017

A Perfect Christmas Gift

Is it better to give or to receive? Does an ideal present, perfect for everyone, exist? Ewa Jarczewska-Gerc, Ph.D., social psychologist from SWPS University talks about problems, choices and motivations...

Read more

Psyche Space 28-11-2017

Why do you need a support network?

Psychologists often note, that mutual exchanges of social support are an important aspect of personal strength and wellbeing. Everyone has a network of relationships with other people which they build...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 16-11-2017

Know Your Rights: Illegal Job Interview Questions

A job interview is a stressful situation. Even a well-prepared candidate may be surprised with an unexpected question. Should you answer all questions during a job interview? What should you...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 10-11-2017

New Technologies and Protection of Personal Information

The existing laws and regulations are not aligned with the current development of new technologies, which generate gaps in personal information protection systems, with an ever accelerating speed. Businesses face...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 06-11-2017

Tips for Effective Goal Setting

Your goal is your North Star. It is the reward at the end of the road, but it is also the beginning of the road. A well-defined goal provides strong...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 02-11-2017

Self-sabotage - why do we do it?

Procrastination, excuses, and overcommitting are some of the methods of self-sabotage. Professor Dariusz Doliński, social psychologist from SWPS University in Wrocław, explains why some people focus their efforts on impeding...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 27-10-2017

“It’s Complicated” - New Relationship Model

According to research conducted by Jean Williams and Jasna Jovanovic and reported in Sexuality and Culture in 2015, over the past twenty years, non-monogamous relationships have become mainstream. Will these...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 25-10-2017

The Dark Side of Women

The word “victim” is often associated with women. And the perpetrator is commonly thought of as a HE, a man, who evolutionary is programmed to hunt, conquer and be violent...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 17-10-2017

Work-Life Balance or Burden?

The more you work the more productive you are. It seems logical. If it takes X minutes to produce Y number of products then one should be able to produce...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 09-10-2017

Holidays, Pop Culture and Marketing

According to the 2013 survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS), as many as 72 per cent of Poles opposes commercialization of holidays. Despite this opposition, many people...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 29-09-2017

Effective Learning - How to Study to Get Great Results

Effective learning means working smarter not harder. Professor Czesław Nosal, psychologists from the Wrocław Faculty of Psychology at SWPS University explains how to study to get the best results and...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 11-09-2017

Becoming Yourself

“Be yourself” is a popular tenet of the Western culture. According to this viewpoint, to have a good life and garner admiration of others one must live in harmony with...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 31-08-2017

How to Overcome Post Vacation Blues

The end of vacation and the return to your daily routine and the usual responsibilities may cause uneasy emotions. Joanna Gutral, psychologist from SWPS University, explains how to deal with...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 22-08-2017

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Curiosity as Motivational Force

What motivates people? What makes them venture into uncharted territories despite doubts and apprehension? What pushes people to constantly experiment? Why do people look for new solutions when they could...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 10-08-2017

Summer Vacation, Your Pets and Animal Rights

When the weather gets warmer and temperatures rise, leaving your pet in the car, even for a few minutes, may result in tragic consequences. Unfortunately during the summer, the number...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 07-08-2017

Internet Generation and Phenomenon of Entrepreneurship

The development of technology has always been one of the key factors of entrepreneurship growth, but who are the modern day entrepreneurs and how they succeed? Magdalena Kubów, management and...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 25-07-2017

Can Lack of Sleep Actually Kill You?

In today’s fast-paced 24/7 world that never unplugs, there are so many responsibilities, tasks and online distractions that tend to creep up on the time previously spent on exercise, cooking...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 24-07-2017

Virtual Vacation

These days more and more experts suggest that to enjoy your vacation and to fully experience the beauty and richness of the world, you need to log out and unplug...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 21-07-2017

The Power of Simple Acts of Kindness

How do you define kindness? Most people would intuitively answer that being kind means doing nice things for other people. Others might add that kindness includes being kind to oneself...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 19-07-2017

Can work make you happy?

A popular belief is that high earnings are the most important aspect of job satisfaction. However, research shows that although the salary is a significant factor of professional happiness, it...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 13-07-2017

How to Like Yourself

Self-esteem is a very important aspect our wellbeing. It affects the way we look at our achievements and relationships and it impacts the way we perceive our future. High self-esteem...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 21-06-2017

Five Tips on Decision Making

Every day we make choices. Most of the time, we make decisions about insignificant things, such as: latte or cappuccino, white shirt or blue shirt. However, from time to time...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 14-06-2017

Five Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill” – this apt and humorous simile was coined by an actor Christopher Parker. Many...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 01-06-2017

Robot Teaches Programming and Helps to Name Emotions

During my flight to Earth, my spacecraft crashed into an asteroid. Its parts scattered all over the world and now children help me find them. This is a story of...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 26-02-2017

Oscars as Element of American Mythology

Nowadays, the annual Oscar Gala has become a global celebration of cinema. It is an event full of glitz and glamour attended by artists and celebrities from around the world...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 14-12-2016

Quo Vadis Pakistan? Radical Islam and Religious Minorities

In Pakistan, torn by internal conflicts, radical Islamic groups are growing in strength. They often use the so called “blasphemy laws” as the justification for brutal attacks on their victims...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 18-11-2016

Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment and Career Planning

In today’s economy, companies that know how to attract and keep well qualified employees are the most successful. The task of finding the best talent with great potential is a...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 01-11-2016

Memories, Identity and Mortality

November is a month of remembrance in many countries. North American nations celebrate Memorial Day and Remembrance Day, which are devoted to commemorating fallen soldiers and surviving veterans. Catholics around...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 17-10-2016

Test of Salt for Seasoned Managers

Professor Mark Snyder, social psychologist from the University of Minnesota, joked that he would not like to have a boss who seasoned his meals prior to tasting the food. Why?...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 19-01-2016

Influence of Money on Human Behavior

A study conducted in a group of children, has shown that handling money may reduce helpfulness and generosity, but increase perseverance and effort applied to difficult tasks. The study was...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 07-10-2015

Designer Drug Generation

Designer drugs are the fourth most popular recreational stimulant used by young people today. The majority of users know these psychoactive substances only by their street names, such as “Cocolino”...

Read more

Popular Science Blog 23-02-2015

Weighty Data

Can abstract properties of an object influence its weight estimate? An international group of researchers, including psychologists from SWPS University in Sopot, studied what properties influence weight estimates with respect...

Read more