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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This Way Up challenged robots to collect the most tin cans from the arena and
ensure they were the correct way up for maximum points. Robots could detect a
can’s orientation by the red insulating band along the bottom. When in a robot’s
scoring zone, correctly oriented cans were worth three points, upside down cans
were worth one point, and cans lying on their side were worth nothing. Tin cans
on the arena floor started upside down, but those on the raised platform in the
centre were already the right way up, making them harder to get but easier to
score points. The states of the cans were recorded at the end of the matches,
and the teams were scored accordingly.
The teams played 91 league matches, over which they improved their robots and
tweaked their strategies while earning league points. The teams’ positions in
the league seeded the knockouts, with the top 8 teams heading straight to the
quarter-finals and the rest having to enter qualifier matches to proceed. Teams
had various designs, from an Archimedes’ screw, to advanced computer vision, to
even flipping the entire robot with cans inside! Particularly notable were
Royal Grammar School Guildford for their use of
rotary encoders and an accelerometer for a closed-loop control system and
Cirencester College for their conveyor belt mechanism with integrated hopper.
Throughout the knockouts, Brockenhurst College emerged as a bit of an underdog.
Placing only 16th in the league, their robot managed to get itself all the way
to the finals.
There was also some drama in Quarter Final 3. The robot from Hertswood
Academy lost its code USB stick with just a
minute and a half of the match remaining! Luckily the robot continued operating
but collided with the robot from Calday Grange Grammar
After progressing through all the knockout matches, four teams were left to face
each other in the final: Brockenhurst College, Cirencester College, Hills Road
Sixth Form College and Queen Mary’s College. Having scored the most game points
of all teams in the league, Queen Mary’s College were a favourite going into the
final. All was going well until, with just under a minute left, disaster struck.
Instead of depositing cans into their scoring zone, Queen Mary’s College’s robot
got stuck driving into the arena wall. Unfortunately, their robot couldn’t
recover from this. This gave Brockenhurst College the chance to get a can in
their scoring zone, ending the match with equal points to Queen Mary’s College.
This tie was broken using the position of teams within the league, leading to
Queen Mary’s College taking second place and Brockenhurst College third.
After a close match in the final, Hills Road Sixth Form College managed to beat
the competition and win the Student Robotics 2022 competition, closely followed
by Queen Mary’s College in second and Brockenhurst College in third.
The Committee Award is given to the team that displays the most extraordinary
ingenuity in the design of their robot. As engineers, we appreciate elegance,
simplicity, and robust engineering. This year, the committee award was given to
Queen Mary’s College for their elegant use of a screw to rotate the cans they
collected within the robot. They would collect up to four cans and then eject
these out the back of the robot when they returned to their scoring zone.
We’re always delighted to welcome new teams to Student Robotics and understand
how big a challenge it can be without prior experience. To recognise this
additional challenge, we award the Rookie Award to the highest placed newcomer
in the league, celebrating their incredible achievement. This year’s recipient
was Abingdon School with their streamlined grabber and advanced can detection
system using computer vision.
We award the Robot and Team Image Award to the team that presents themselves in
the most outstanding way. This year, our teams rose to the challenge, and we saw
some fantastic themes! We loved Haberdashers’
School’s Grease theme, but we decided to give the
Robot and Team Image award to Hills Road Sixth Form College for their hilarious
“Ducktor Who” theme. All team members attended dressed as classic Dr Who
characters, and their robot was topped with a big red duck which acted as their
Through social media, teams can share the problems they’re facing as well as
their designs and successes. A few teams stood out to us this year with their
regular updates on social media, but the winner of the Online Presence Award is
Hampton School and Lady Eleanor Holles
School for their consistent and high-quality posts,
all collated on the team’s website.
Check out the rulebook for all the details on the awards we give.
This year’s competition would not have been possible without all of our amazing
sponsors. Their generous support allows us to make Student Robotics free to
enter and help us continue in our mission to bring the excitement of engineering
and the challenge of coding to young people through robotics.
A small army of volunteers is responsible for making Student Robotics happen
each year. In addition to all those who helped at the main event, we have teams
of volunteers working throughout the year. Those on our Competition Team design,
organise and deliver Tech Days (a handful of days on which teams can come
together and develop their robots) and the Competition weekend. Our Kit Team
designs and supports the software and hardware our competitors use; the
Infrastructure Team ensure that our website stays up and our internal teams can
work collaboratively; the Fundraising Team ensures that we have the resources
needed to run our events; and the Marketing Team makes sure our efforts are seen
and heard by all. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of
this year’s competition. If you’re reading this and want to join us next year,
sign up on our volunteering page.
Notes to editors
Student Robotics is an annual robotics competition for 16-19 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
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 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