That’s a wrap on Student Robotics 2019! Our teams have been working hard since November to design, build, and test their robots; finally seeing the fruits of their work on the competition weekend. It was great to see our competitors quickly adapting their robots, from the physical design to the software, to overcome unforeseen challenges; giving themselves every small advantage towards claiming victory.
The Challenge: Caldera
Our game this year, Caldera, challenged teams to control scoring zones with tokens while navigating an arena with raised platforms. Twenty-five scoring zones were arranged in a grid, varying in value from two points for each of the outermost 16 zones, a ring of eight on a raised “volcano” worth seven points apiece, to the the central “caldera” which was worth thirty points. Parking your robot in a zone tripled the points of that zone and the 4 adjacent zones.
There were a range of inventive designs this year. Many teams opted for tank tracks as a method of climbing the volcano. Instead of climbing the volcano, a few teams built catapult mechanisms with varying degrees of success. Others scooped up tokens and deposited them on the low scoring areas and/or the edge of the volcano. Some teams lifted tokens onto top-mounted conveyor belts which dropped them onto the volcano’s surface.
Some of the more notable designs were:
- The Ladies’ College Guernsey with their consistent, successful catapult.
- South Wilts Grammar School with their simple and effective grab-and-go robot which climbed the volcano with a single token.
- Cranbrook School with their suction cup and catapult combination which unfortunately had technical issues for much of the competition.
- Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School with their Hawaiian themed robot, topped with a 3D paper pineapple.
Student Robotics 2019 concluded with an intense match between Peter Symonds College, Hampton School and Lady Eleanor Holles School, The Ladies’ College Guernsey, and Hills Road Sixth Form College. Hampton and Lady Eleanor Holles School were quick off the mark pushing their tokens into the scoring zones. Hills Road soon followed, quickly shifting their tokens across the arena. Peter Symonds’s robot slowly moved 4 of their tokens into a single scoring zone before unfortunately flipping onto its back. Meanwhile, The Ladies’ College quietly moved towards the edge of the volcano and launched a token directly into the caldera.
We saw some brilliant robot designs this year, great work by all teams. 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!
|1st Place||The Ladies’ College Guernsey|
|2nd Place||Hills Road Sixth Form College|
|3rd Place||Hampton School and Lady Eleanor Holles School|
|Rookie Award||Eltham College|
|Committee Award||South Wilts Grammar School|
|Robot and Team Image||Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School|
|Online Presence||Collyer’s (Twitter)|
We always like to see new teams joining the competition, and Eltham College were still able to pull their weight against our seasoned competitors. Their robot picked up a stack of tokens and used tank tracks as a method of climbing the volcano.
The Committee Award is especially important to us. As engineers, we are looking for the most simple and elegant solution to every challenge, and Team SWI from South Wilts Grammar School managed to do exactly that. Their robot was designed to take a single token into the highest scoring zone, the caldera, by using large wheels to climb the volcano. Over the course of the competition weekend, they made notes of other teams’ strategies and were constantly evolving their own to stay competitive. They also quickly and cleverly changed their approach to overcome technical difficulties midway through the competition.
We love to see teams dressing up to compliment their robot theme, and this year Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School won the Robot and Team Image award with their Hawaiian theme. This was complimented with inflatable palm trees and a 3D paper pineapple on top of their robot.
Lastly, we like to see the robot-building process over the course of the year, and Collyer’s were keeping us up-to-date on Twitter all the way from Kickstart.
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.
Of course, this competition would not be possible without the support of The Motorola Solutions Foundation, our sponsor for this year, who enabled us to provide a fun and educational opportunity for students from a range of engineering disciplines.
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
Student Robotics is independent from the University of Southampton. ↩