An annual robotics competition for young people aged 16-18

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JAMDynamics steal victory in Student Robotics 2020

Congratulations to JAMDynamics who take victory in a tie-breaker match after a strong performance in the league and knockout stages.

The Challenge: Two Colours

The virtual arena with its central raised platform
The virtual arena with its central raised platform

Our game this year, Two Colours, challenged teams retrieve gold or silver coloured tokens from on and around a raised platform in the centre of the arena. Having these tokens within their scoring zone (i.e. their corner of the arena) at the end of the match would earn them 3 points apiece. However, if a robot gathered more than one token colour within their scoring zone, each token’s value drops from 3 points to 1 point. Full details of the game and the awards available this year are available in the rulebook.

Our competition event this year was rather different to normal as COVID-19 prevented our usual weekend event. Instead the competition took place over three weekends, with matches being live-streamed from within a simulator. While this changed many aspects of the competition, the core challenge to create an autonomous robot remained the same.

The Final

This year’s final featured four teams who had all proven their capabilities throughout the competition. All robots got off to a strong start, though JAMDynamics and Lawrence Sheriff School soon took a lead. However, later in the match, the “poisoning” effect of having mixed tokens in a scoring zone changed everything leaving all four teams with the same number of points.

This tie for first place lead to a tie-breaker match, played between the same four teams though with their starting corners changed. Once again the reliability of these four robots showed, with each collecting a token inside the one minute mark. In the end it was JAMDynamics’ robot which was able to collect three silver tokens, including one stolen from Hills Road Sixth Form College second team’s scoring zone, which took victory.

While we weren’t able to see them in person, we saw some brilliant robot designs and were continually impressed by the progress made throughout the year, both posted online and at the Tech Days. Even during the virtual competiton, it was great to see the robot code improving week to week. We hope you enjoyed the competition as much as we did!

If you didn’t take part, or you want to enter again next year, the sign up page for next year’s competition will be up later in the year. Get a team together and start talking to your teachers now!

Results

Prize Team
1st Place JAM: JAMDynamics
2nd Place KSF: Kenilworth Sixth Form
3rd Place LSS: Lawrence Sheriff School
Committee Award SWI: South Wilts Grammar School
Rookie Award KSF: Kenilworth Sixth Form
First Robot Movement KSF: Kenilworth Sixth Form (watch their robot)
Online Presence MAI: Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf

With a dominating 111 league points, Kenilworth Sixth Form not only placed highest among the rookie teams but placed highest overall in the league. Especially given the changes to the competition through the year, beating other more experienced teams is a remarkable feat.

The Committee Award is given for extraordinary ingenuity or simple elegance in the design of their solution. Team SWI from South Wilts Grammar School earned this prize for an impressive path-finding algorithm within their code. The judges were additionally impressed by the clarity of the code and supporting documentation, something which is easily overlooked when writing code. This also showed in their robot’s performance, which was reliably able to navigate around the central pedestal to collect tokens from the far side.

We also encourage teams to share their progress towards their robots throughout the year. Team MAI from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf earned the Online Presence Award for their ongoing blog posting during both the lead-up to the physical competition and after lockdown began as well as for their activy on the forums.

For full details on all the awards, please see the rulebook.

You can see a breakdown of scores for each match, as well as the overall league ranking on the competition website.

Rewatch the streams

If you’d like to relive the highs and lows of the competition livestreams, the videos remain available on YouTube, as well as a cut-down video of the spectacular final and tie breaker:

Thanks

Of course, this competition would not be possible without the tireless work of our volunteers, who developed the simulated world the competition was run in and enabled us to switch to a virtual competiton. If you’d like to get involved in organising future competitions, from developing the software and hardware used by the teams to the events themselves we’re always looking for people to join our team.

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 the UK’s biggest autonomous robotics competition.

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 start 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.

If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

The SR Team

  1. Student Robotics is independent from the University of Southampton. 

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