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Robots 101 - So you're running a team

One of our SR2022 Team Supervisors
One of our SR2022 Team Supervisors

So, you’re running a team. Here’s a little bit of info on what to expect from Student Robotics, and your responsibilities as a team supervisor.

As a team supervisor, your role is to guide the competitors through the journey of building a robot. You’ll be there to point them in the right direction when they get stuck and resolve any issues they run into. We encourage team supervisors to limit their involvement with the robot design/building process so that the finished contraptions are 100% student-built which competitors find very rewarding.

You’ll be our point of contact with the team. If you have any questions during the year, just email teams@studentrobotics.org. We’ll also be sending you emails every month or so with important information such as:

  • Details of Tech Days where we provide a space for teams to come together and get direct help from our dedicated volunteers
  • Software updates for our kit
  • Information about the competition in April

We aim to host our Kickstart event and Tech Days in multiple locations to make it more convenient for you to travel. However, you will still need to arrange to travel to these places. This is especially important to book for the competition, as you will likely need to arrange to stay overnight near the venue.

Our kit includes a battery and a few boards to get your robot started. However, your team will need additional components and materials from which to build their robot. For the chassis, your team has several options. Teams often use cardboard, MDF, Aluminium, and/or Acrylic. In terms of electronic components, teams often make use of:

  • At least 2 x 12v motors (our kit supports 4)
  • A few servo motors
  • A few microswitches for detecting if you bump into something
  • Ultrasound sensor
  • Wheels & bearings

Be sure to plan with your team what your robot will need before you make any purchases as depending on your robot design you may need more or less of these components.

Popular suppliers of these components are:

To allow you and your team to ask us questions directly, as well as share what they’re working on with other teams, we provide a Discord server. You will receive a unique link to share with your team so that you can all join with your own Discord accounts. Each team gets a private text channel for direct support from us which can be used to discuss your robot without worrying about giving other teams your strategy. We also have a team-supervisor only channel for any questions you may have. There are also some text channels where teams can communicate with each other (and us!) for more general topics. If you’d like a voice channel for your team, just email us! You can find more information in our docs.

If you’d like additional support throughout the year, we have dedicated mentors who can regularly join your team meetings either in-person or remotely. Your mentor will help guide your team towards good solutions for their robot, provide assistance where they might need it as well as help them understand the kit, the rules and the competition as a whole. We strongly encourage new teams to sign up for mentoring. If this sounds like something you’d like, look out for our email shortly after Kickstart.

Best of luck this year, and don’t forget we’re always happy to help!

Registration opens for Student Robotics 2023

All the teams from SR2022
All the teams from SR2022

We’re excited to announce that registration for the 2023 season of Student Robotics is now open!

Based in the UK, Student Robotics challenges teams of 16 to 19 year-olds to design, build and program fully autonomous robots to compete in our annual competition. Teams will have just six months to engineer their creations. As well as supplying teams with a kit, which they can use as a framework for their robot, we mentor the teams over this period. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we provide all of this to our teams at no cost.

The competition cycle will start with in-person kickstart events at locations near teams. During the event the game and the structure of the competition will be announced and kits handed out to teams.

While the details for kickstart are not yet available, the events are expected to take place on the same weekend in late October.

The competition year will culminate in an in-person competition over two days in early April 2023, which will see the robots compete through a league stage and a seeded knockout. As usual the prizes will recognise not only the teams which come top in the knockouts, but also those who excel in other ways.

Details of the game and prizes will be revealed at kickstart. Details of the kickstart and competition events will be published when they are available. We expect to confirm places at the end of September.

If you would like a chance to compete in Student Robotics 2023, please fill in the entry form with the required information. Places are limited, so sign up soon to avoid disappointment.

We look forward to seeing your teams!

Where are they now? Matt Arnold

This week we’ll be catching up with Matt, a Computer Science teacher at Barton Peveril College. Matt competed in SR2014 as a part of team BPV from Barton Peveril College. He went on to study Computer Science at Cambridge University before returning to Barton Peveril as a teacher.

How did you first get involved with Student Robotics?

I signed up for my sixth form college’s robotics club. I worked more on the programming of the robot and remember completely re-writing the code twice during the competition itself!

What are you doing now?

After getting my Computer Science degree, I am now teaching and am the subject leader for Computer Science A-level at the same sixth form college that I did the competition with - so I’ve come full circle! The college still competes every year.

How did Student Robotics help you get to where you are today / What did you gain from taking part in SR?

As a teenager I was very reluctant to sign up for things and didn’t take many opportunities. Doing SR really showed teenage me that it was worth it, even though it might be a bit scary at first. I made lots of friends and gained many new skills (it was my first introduction to Python). As a result, at university, I wasn’t afraid to get involved in anything! It was also very useful for talking about at interviews for programming jobs.

What was your favourite part about competing in Student Robotics?

It really made me think about the impacts of slightly buggy code. Because the robot needs to function on its own for multiple minutes, a slight error in the code for handling the wheel motors would have a big impact halfway through the round (usually resulting in the robot trying to drive through the wall!)

What advice would you give to yourself aged 16-18 knowing what you know now?

Aside from investing all my savings into Bitcoin, I would tell myself to get stuck into more things like SR as they’re great fun and definitely worth the uncertainty at the start!


Student Robotics is 100% free to enter and provides exciting real world engineering challenges for students aged 16-19. If you’re interested in taking part you can find out more on our Compete page. If your organisation is interested in sponsoring Student Robotics you can find all the information on our Sponsor page or reach out direct to fundraising@studentrobotics.org