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Student Robotics win Best Student-Led Project EVA

Published: 8 May 2009

Student Robotics have received the accolade of ‘Best Student-Led Project’ at this year’s Excellence in Volunteering Awards (EVAs) organized by the University of Southampton Students’ Union.

EVAs are awarded for projects in which University of Southampton students give their time to work with the local community. Chris Cross, President of Student Robotics, who received the award, said: ‘We are really proud to accept this award which reflects upon the hard work of many students over a number of years. With two successful competitions behind us, plans are already well under way to make Student Robotics 2010 the best yet!’

This year’s programme ended with an enthusiastically contested final on Sunday 19 April. Teams taking part came from St Anne's School Southampton, Brockenhurst College, Alton College, Peter Symonds College Winchester (which provided the winning team), and Bedales School. Sponsors this year were the Motorola Foundation, Bitbox, the University of Southampton and ECS.

The challenge had begun last September, when teams from sixth-form colleges and schools across Hampshire received their equipment from Student Robotics. They were then mentored weekly in class by a Southampton engineering student from the Student Robotics team. The University students, the majority of whom are from ECS, actually design, build and develop the electronics themselves the previous summer, ensuring that the college students have custom-hardware tailored to their precise needs.

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 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. It is an excellent example of outreach work in the community and I’m sure it will help inspire engineers of the future.’

In February this year, Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation, was particularly impressed by the Student Robotics project during his visit to the University (pictured).

Read Part 1 Electronics Engineering student Adam Malpass's account of the Student Robotics Final in his ECS blog.

Students wishing to find out more about taking part in Student Robotics should come along to the cake day on Wednesday 13 May.

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