Headington School Oxford win Student Robotics 2014

Photograph of the winning competitors at their prize giving.

Headington School, Oxford came top of the class in this year’s Student Robotics tournament this weekend (27th May 2014) at The Racecourse, Newbury. The team of sixth form girls beat 53 other school teams from the UK, France and Germany with a self-driving robot that uses a camera to find prize tokens.

Headington School (pictured) narrowly beat Gordano School from Bristol, who came in second place. Clifton High School, also from Bristol, and Runshaw College, from Lancashire, came joint in a 3rd place.

Student Robotics 2014 was the biggest and best yet, with over 230 rounds played over 2 days. Up to four robots competed head to head in each round, pushing past each other to grab as many tokens as possible in 3 minutes. Run entirely by volunteers, Student Robotics is free for teams to enter thanks to our sponsors, primarily the Motorola Foundation and the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science. This year the competition was also livestreamed on the internet thanks to our latest sponsor, the British Amateur Television Club.

The challenge: Slots

This year’s competition involved building a robot that could move around an arena handling bulky prize tokens and drop them into tight-fitting slots. In addition, and in a first for Student Robotics, the token’s orientation was also a means to score points. The best robots had to be able to rotate them before placing the token into their designated area.

Find out more about the intricacies of the game in the rulebook.


Aside from the best scoring robots, we also reward teams which excel in other areas.

The First Robot Movement and Rookie Award prizes are reserved for teams new to the competition. The Rookie Award is given to the rookie team which places highest in the league stage of the competition.

The first new team to post a video of their robot moving on its own in a controlled manner win the First Robot Movement award. This encourages new teams to get a basic chassis built quickly, as well as getting them to write some simple control software for it. The committee were impressed that Torquay Boys’ video appeared within two weeks of the Kickstart.

Team HRS in their steampunk attire.

The Committee Award is given to the team which finds a simple and elegant solution to a problem. This was demonstrated brilliantly by MAI, whose robot used a suction grabber to roll the tokens towards it in order to turn them over as well as easily carry them.

The Online Presence prize is given to the team judged to have the best combination of website, blog and other online activities.

The Robot and Team Image prize is given to the team which present their robot and themselves in the most outstanding way. Systemetric (HRS) impressed the judges with their steampunk costumes and brass and mahogany robot (pictured).

Prize Team
1st Place Headington School, Oxford (HSO)
2nd Place Gordano School (GRD)
3rd Place (Tie) “Team Ninja Bot”, Clifton High School (CLF) and
“Colossal Denominators”, Runshaw College (RUN)
Rookie Award Torquay Boys Grammar School (TBG)
Committee Award “MAI Senior”, Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf (MAI)
Robot and Team Image “Systemetric”, Hills Road Sixth Form College (HRS)
First Robot Movement Torquay Boys Grammar School (TBG)
Online Presence “The Astromechs”, Peter Symonds College (PSC)

Due to an error in the handling of the scores in the final match, this was unfortunately announced incorrectly as only CLF on the day.

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

The Teams

Photograph of the competitors after the prize giving.

Every year the teams get better and better, which is not an easy feat! The judges were very impressed by the wide variety of robots entered this year, including the hexapod from Greshams, a boarding school near Norfolk.

This is the first walking robot Student Robotics has ever seen, walking in the absent dust of the hovercraft we saw at last year’s competition.

If you didn’t take part but your appetite’s been whetted, or you want to enter again next year, the sign up page for next year’s competition will be up soon. Get forming your teams and talking to your teachers now!


High resolution photographs of the event can be found on the Student Robotics 2014 competition Flickr group. For more information, please contact us.

The Student Robotics Team

SR2014 starts with record numbers of teams

A map of SR teams in the UK. © OpenStreetMap contributors
A map of SR teams in the UK. © OpenStreetMap contributors

The Student Robotics 2014 competition is now under way. This year we have three hundred students registered, across fifty four schools, and three different countries. They now have six months to design, prototype and build their robots, to take part in this years competition game. You can find more information about the people taking part on their team pages.

The Kickstart event was spread over three different locations, at the Universities of Southampton and Bristol, and Greshams School in Norfolk. Attending teams received their electronics kit, an introduction to SR and exercised their robot building skills through a series of tasks demonstrating the range of functions that our electronics kit provides.

This year our kit has new motor controllers, allowing our teams to use twice as many motors as in previous years. We’ve also included a ruggeduino as part of each kit. As well as performing basic input and output, the ruggeduino can be reprogrammed by teams to have more advanced, custom functionality. We’ve also kept all of our past features, such as the servo controller and vision system.

This year’s game, Slots, challenges teams to collect 20cm boxes from the arena, rotate them and place them into central zones, with bonuses for placing them in the adjacent slots. During the competition teams have three minutes to place as many boxes as possible, competing against three other robots at a time.

After a league and knockout stage, the best robot will be crowned the SR2014 champion! Full details are available in the rules.

We’re hoping that this years competition will produce the most innovative and exciting robots that we’ve ever seen during Student Robotics, and are looking forward to seeing how they perform at the Competition.

A New Motor Controller to get SR2014 Robots Dancing


A robot’s ability to move is strongly linked to its ability to amaze. Student Robotics is all about encouraging young people to build amazing robots, and so our volunteers work hard to deliver tools and guidance for getting robots moving. That’s why, for SR2014, we’re significantly improving the motor controllers that we provide to our teams.

The design and manufacture of the new motor controller has been lead by Richard Barlow. It builds upon our last 7 years of experience in developing robust electronics suitable for use in schools. Every one of SR2014’s 54 teams will receive two of our new USB motor controllers, each of which is capable of driving two DC motors.

With the growing size of Student Robotics, changing a single part of our kit is not a small undertaking. Yesterday evening, students from Headington School in Oxford along with several volunteers from the area, assisted Richard in assembling 180 plastic cases from laser-cut parts for our new stash of motor boards.

SR2014 is to be the largest Student Robotics undertaking so far, and our volunteers have been hard at work for the last few months preparing for its Kickstart, which is now less than two weeks away. On the 12th of October, 54 teams from the UK, France, and Germany will receive their challenge from Student Robotics. Along with this challenge, the teams will be provided with a set of electronic parts which will form the foundation of their robots. With this kit, and the hard work of our teams, we’re looking forwards to seeing some amazing things transpire at the SR2014 competition in April.