The University of Southampton

Hampshire students count down to Student Robotics final

Published: 3 April 2009

The final showdown for this year’s Student Robotics challenge takes place on Sunday 19 April at the University of Southampton.

For the last eight months young engineers in Hampshire schools and colleges have been designing, building and programming autonomous robots which will compete against each other in the grand finals. The college students, working in teams of six, have been mentored and supported by students from the University of Southampton who have organized this very successful competition for the second year running.

The challenge for the college students is to build robots that are programmed to complete a task. To do this successfully they are 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 design, build and develop all of the electronics themselves, ensuring that the competing sixth forms and colleges have custom-hardware tailored to their precise needs. Over the last two years of the competition the University students have managed to produce an electronics kit that provides lots of functionality but with the flexibility for the college teams to experiment and develop their own solutions. Each college team receives a weekly visit from a University student – many of them from the School of Electronics and Computer Science, to help them get their robot into shape for the grand final.

'The organization and running of this activity is carried out solely by our students themselves,' said Professor Harvey Rutt, Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science. 'We applaud their commitment to this event since it provides the sixth-form students with the chance to work on a real engineering problem, valuably supplementing their A level studies. Our students are able to develop valuable skills such as project management, team work and group development, which is very beneficial to their future careers.'

This year’s event will be contested by teams from St Anne's School Southampton, Brockenhurst College, Alton College, Peter Symonds College Winchester, and Bedales School, and takes place in the Garden Court, Highfield Campus, from 10 am to 5 pm. The robots compete against each other in a specially designed arena and gain points for their success in completing a number of tasks.

Student Robotics is sponsored by the Motorola Foundation, Bitbox, Student Community Action, the University of Southampton, and Roke Manor Research Ltd.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.023 8059 5453

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