The University of Southampton

Student Robotics Challenge reaches final stages

Published: 7 April 2011

This weekend (9/10 April) sees the culmination of the Student Robotics Challenge with school teams from around the country and as far afield as Grenoble coming to the University to take part in a day of furious and frenzied competition.

The schools taking part have been working on their robots for six months, designing them, building them and perfecting their ability to execute particular manoeuvres in the most efficient and successful way.

On the final day of competition, Sunday 10 April, the robots will be put through their paces in a specially-constructed arena in the University Students’ Union, performing tasks which will test the design and construction skills of their student architects.

The school teams have all been mentored by a member of the Students Robotics team, which is drawn from current and former engineering students of the University of Southampton, University of Bristol and Imperial College London and is based at ECS-Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.

The competition is now in its fifth year, and is highly regarded by sponsors, who include Motorola and BitBox, and teachers at the competing schools. “I was tremendously impressed with the set up (of the competition day) and the ingenuity displayed by the various teams. It is quite incredible what relatively young students can achieve,” said a member of the teaching staff at Peter Symonds College, Winchester.

The school teams arrive in Southampton on Saturday 9 April, and have the opportunity to spend a day of final preparations for the competition, which begins on Sunday morning at 10 am. After inspection of the robots to ensure they meet the competition regulations, the event begins at 10.30 and continues until 3.45 in the afternoon. After a short period of judging, the prize-giving ceremony takes place at 4 pm.

“This is the culmination of a huge amount of ingenuity, inventiveness, and hard work,” says Alex Forward, this year’s Student Robotics Chairman. “Student Robotics is an inspirational activity, both for students at the University who have the opportunity to work with sixth-form students and see what they can achieve, and for the students and their teachers, who try to coax the best out of their robots to such great effect on the competition day.

“It’s definitely a day of unexpected outcomes, including triumph and disaster! But it’s a lot of fun.”

Professor Neil White, Head of ECS-Electronics and Computer Science, will be presenting the prizes on Sunday: “The competition is a very practical way of helping sixth-formers acquire an understanding of the kind of engineering design skills that are fundamental to the country’s technological development.

“We are very proud of our students who run this Challenge so professionally, and I am looking forward to seeing some excellent robots and stiff competition on Sunday.”

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

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