The University of Southampton

Student robotics competition provides a glimpse of the future

Published: 25 September 2007

A-level students in Southampton are about to embark on an exciting competition to build their own robots.

Led by a group of University students, 10 teams from schools and colleges around Southampton will spend the next six months designing and building robots which will compete against each other in a grand final to be held at the University next spring.

In the future robots will be part of our daily lives, performing tasks in the home, and assisting us while we work, travel, and spend our leisure time.

The Southampton Student Robotics Competition is designed to highlight this aspect of robotics, and the 70 A-level students will be encouraged to produce robots which are sophisticated, capable of programmed movement to perform set tasks, able to ‘see’, and make best use of their own artificial intelligence.

The University students have raised substantial funds to enable them to support the school teams in their robot design and construction between now and April when the grand final takes place. Sponsors of the competition are the Motorola Foundation, Southampton University Students Union (SUSU), and the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University.

Each team will be mentored by a University student who will visit the school every week. The students have spent the summer building components and designing the competition, and full details will be revealed to the school teams when they all meet at the University this Friday.

‘This is the first opportunity for all the school teams to meet and find out exactly what they will be doing,’ said Stephen English, an Electronics student in the School of Electronics and Computer Science, who is leading the University Student Robotics team. ‘This is a challenging competition and we are convinced that we are going to see some really innovative ideas and applications coming out of it.’

The event at the University this Friday (28 September) takes place in the Garden Court, Highfield Campus, between 12 noon and 4 pm. The school teams will undertake a team-building exercise, as well as hearing presentations on what the competition will involve.

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