Bishop Wordsworth’s School from Salisbury took 1st Place at this year’s Student Robotics tournament, held at Newbury Racecourse. In a tense final, their robot “Underclocked Toaster” beat Team Aculeus of Gordano School, King Edward VI Grammar School from Chelmsfold, MealsOnWheels of Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy, and 40 other teams from around the UK and Germany to take first place. Cranbrook School from Kent took the Committee Award for their simple and elegant circular robot.
Addressing all of the competitors before the prize-giving, Philip Su, director of Facebook’s London engineering office, said: “This has been an amazing thing to witness; I love the ingenuity and the creativity, and I hope that you continue to choose the path that you’re on.
I wish I had opportunities like this when I was younger, because I was an engineer at heart when I was young, and I often felt made fun of. I felt outcast. But this is the thing you find out after you graduate from Uni, and you can trust me on this: that image of engineering is wrong. It turns out you are Tony Stark. It turns out you are Tris Prior. You are divergent, but you’re also erudite, and you’re dauntless, and you will rule the world. I promise you this: pursue the thing that you love, and you will one day rule the world.
Student Robotics 2015 was the first to feature only new-generation kit, with USB Servo and Power Boards, and a Brain Board based on the ODROID U3. The competition has now been running for eight years, and remains free for teams to enter thanks to our sponsors and many volunteers.
The challenge: Capture the Flag
For this year’s game, the competitors had to build and program robots to capture and keep as many flags (large wooden cubes on castors) as possible within the three-minute games. Full details can be found in the rulebook.
The standard remained high this year, with a wide variety of approaches. Many teams chose to gamble on speed, dashing for the centre flag, bringing it back to their zone, and guarding it for the rest of the match. Others chose a more flexible approach, using their vision systems to adapt to the situation, often attempting to steal flags from their rivals. King Edward VI Grammar School’s approach was to drive slowly but carefully, a strategy which paid off, winning them 3rd Place and the Rookie Award.
Winning the knockout is not the only prize-worthy achievement at Student Robotics. A complete list of prizes is shown below:
|1st Place||Bishop Wordsworth’s School|
|2nd Place||Team Aculeus (Gordano School, Portishead)|
|3rd Place||King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford|
|Committee Award||Cranbrook School|
|Rookie Award||King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford|
|First Robot Movement||CATS Robotics (video)|
|Robot and Team Image||42 * 2 - Double Vision (Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf)|
|Online Presence||Peter Symonds Robotics|
The Committee Award, given for a simple and elegant solution to the year’s challenge, was awarded to Cranbrook School. The committee was impressed by their simple but effective circular design, which had no need for moving parts except for its two drive wheels.
The Rookie Award is for the rookie team who performed best in the knockouts. The First Movement Award is given to the first rookie team to demonstrate a moving robot.
The Robot and Team Image prize is for the team which present themselves and their robot in the most outstanding and stylish manner. The winners this year, “42 * 2 - Double Vision” from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf, came dressed as monks in hooded brown robes, laced with glowing LED strips. Hoods were a major theme this year, with Systemetric from Hills Road Sixth Form College dressing as sinister black-cloaked “Aluminati”.
The Online Presence award is given to the team with the best website, social media presence, or combination of the two.
For full details of the awards, please see the rulebook.
44 teams made it to the competition this year, 20 of whom came from schools or colleges which had not competed before.
Student Robotics 2016 promises to be the biggest and best yet. If you’d like to compete, see the Compete page for more information. Start talking to your teachers and recruiting team members as soon as possible!
Notes to editors
Student Robotics is an annual robotics competition for 16-18 year-olds in the UK and Europe. It was founded in 2006 by university students and is free to enter thanks to our sponsors and many volunteers. Since it was first run in 2008, the final competition has grown from one room at the University of Southampton1 to a two-day event for 54 teams and over 400 students.
At the start of the academic year, teams are given a kit containing custom-made electronics at a Kickstart event, where the game for the year is announced. They then have until the end of the Easter holiday to build fully-autonomous robots which will compete against each other in the final competition. They are supported by volunteer mentors, and software to assist them in programming their robots is provided.
High resolution photographs of the event will be uploaded to the Flickr group. For more information, please [get in touch][contact].
The Student Robotics Team
1. Student Robotics is independent from the University of Southampton. ↩