SR2023 Kit Revision

The Student Robotics Kit has received an upgrade! Thanks to the generosity of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, we are now using Raspberry Pi computers in our kits. We’ve also developed an add-on board for the Pi (known as the KCH), which provides power to the Pi and several LEDs to indicate a robot’s status.

Raspberry Pis

Previously our kits used an ODROID U3+ as their brain, which served us well for many years. However, difficulties in procurement and teams needing increasing computing power led us to look for alternatives. We settled on using Raspberry Pi 4Bs with 2GB of RAM. These are easier to purchase, offer excellent computing performance, have built in WiFi, and much more.


With a new powerful computer at the heart of our kit, we have also designed and built a new add-on HAT called the KCH. Named in memory of a Student Robotics volunteer who sadly passed away in 2020, it serves as a reminder of his love of robotics, innovation, and bees.

The KCH is responsible for powering the Pi and providing output to users regarding the robot’s status. The board has LEDs showing the boot progress of the Pi, indicators for the current status of the code, and most excitingly three user-programmable RGB LEDs. These LEDs provide an easy way to output what your robot is doing at that moment, which can be an invaluable debugging aid.

Take note that the Pi is now powered from the L2 12V port of the Power Board rather than the 5V port. The docs have been updated to state this, but we thought it was worth re-iterating.


This kit revision has been made possible by the generosity of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. They selected us as recipients of the Engineering Education Grant Scheme, for which we are incredibly grateful.

The volunteers on our Kit Team also deserve thanks and recognition for their herculean effort to get this revision sorted. A tremendous amount of planning and preparation was needed for this kit revision. There was hardware design, software updates, and cleaning and sorting the existing kit. All while being geographically distributed around the UK (and Europe)!

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 you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, you can find more information and sign up on our Volunteer page.

Robots 101 - Kickstarted, now what?

Welcome to the start of Robot 101, our series where we guide you through the competition and give some advice on your next steps.

So, you attended our kickstart event and are now ready to build your robot! But where should you start? We’re here to help!

We’ve found that most teams split up the different parts of the robot between them. It’s a good idea to meet up and discuss which tasks each person wants to accomplish and give each other roles inside the team. Of course, these can change throughout the time between kickstart and competition, but make sure everyone has a job to do. It’s important to make sure there’s always at least two or three people that can do each task type. Don’t forget tasks outside the robot itself either, like project management, running the social media, or theming.

Take some time together to plan your strategy for the game: how are you going to tackle the problem? What equipment would you want to experiment with? Remember to consider all areas of the robot - design, code, and mechanics. For some ideas, have a look on our YouTube channel to see some robots from previous competitions.

Each member should also spend some time getting to know the docs on our website. This contains important information about the game’s rules, an introduction to your kit, as well as tips on how to program your robot. Your team supervisor will have been sent your invite link and password for our Discord Server - this is the best place to ask questions to the Blueshirts. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Our volunteers have years of experience and are there to help you. You can also get your team supervisor to contact us through our email if you prefer.

Remember, you’re not just aiming to win First, Second, or Third! There are plenty of other awards in place for you to achieve throughout the year. For example, our “Teams on the Web” runs from now until the end of the competition - make sure you’re posting your progress on social media to be in the running! Check out the Rules for a full list of all the awards on offer.

As part of your team, you’ll have a trusted adult who is acting as supervisor - their job is to guide you through the process of building your robot, not build it for you! We have a separate blog post on the role of a supervisor.

Hopefully this has given you some jumping off points to begin your journey to the competition. Check back soon for our next entry in this series, all about how to design your robot!

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 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!