News

Competition dates for SR2016 announced

The competition venue and dates for SR2016 have now been confirmed. Once again the competition will return to the Newbury Racecourse Grandstand which has successfully hosted the competition over the past two years.

The competition weekend will be the 30th April and 1st May. Over the two day event the teams’ robots will first compete in a series of league matches, during which they will continue to improve their hardware and software. These matches will then seed a knockout to choose the overall winners.

In each match the robots will play Sunny Side Up, in which the aim is to turn as many of the nine tokens the right way up and then collect as many as they can into their home zone.

In addition to the coveted 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, there are awards for the highest placed new team, the most ingenious robot and the best presented team among others. For full details of the rules of the game and the prizes available see the rulebook.

Whether you’re supporting a team or just want to watch, the competition is open to everyone over the whole weekend. We particularly recommend coming along for the finals on Sunday afternoon.

Registration for SR2016 now open

Registration for Student Robotics 2016 is now open and, as always, it is completely free to take part. You can register your interest in entering a team for the next Student Robotics competition and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The competition will kick off towards the end of October, where teams will attend one of our Kickstart events. Teams will be introduced to the SR2016 game, the Student Robotics Kit and set a series of small challenges to help them familiarise themselves with the Kit. Help will be on hand throughout the day from our growing team of university and industry mentors.

After spending six months carefully designing, constructing and testing their robots, teams will come together for the main competition in April 2016. Here, their robot will be pitted against all of the other teams’ robots. Over two days, through a battle of minds and engineering prowess, the robots and teams will have to prove themselves with reliable and consistent performance.

So, if you have a team of 16-18 year-olds who think they have what it takes to be crowned the winners of SR2016, please register your interest and we will get in touch with you as soon as we can.

Bishop Wordsworth’s School are victorious at Student Robotics 2015

All the competitors and Blueshirts on the stands at Newbury Racecourse. Photograph courtesy of Rich Barlow.
All the competitors and Blueshirts on the stands at Newbury Racecourse. Photograph courtesy of Rich Barlow.
The winning team, Bishop Wordsworth's School, with Philip Su, Director of Facebook London Engineering Office. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.
The winning team, Bishop Wordsworth's School, with Philip Su, Director of Facebook London Engineering Office. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.

Bishop Wordsworth’s School from Salisbury took 1st Place at this year’s Student Robotics tournament, held at Newbury Racecourse. In a tense final, their robot “Underclocked Toaster” beat Team Aculeus of Gordano School, King Edward VI Grammar School from Chelmsfold, MealsOnWheels of Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy, and 40 other teams from around the UK and Germany to take first place. Cranbrook School from Kent took the Committee Award for their simple and elegant circular robot.

Addressing all of the competitors before the prize-giving, Philip Su, director of Facebook’s London engineering office, said: “This has been an amazing thing to witness; I love the ingenuity and the creativity, and I hope that you continue to choose the path that you’re on.

I wish I had opportunities like this when I was younger, because I was an engineer at heart when I was young, and I often felt made fun of. I felt outcast. But this is the thing you find out after you graduate from Uni, and you can trust me on this: that image of engineering is wrong. It turns out you are Tony Stark. It turns out you are Tris Prior. You are divergent, but you’re also erudite, and you’re dauntless, and you will rule the world. I promise you this: pursue the thing that you love, and you will one day rule the world.

Student Robotics 2015 was the first to feature only new-generation kit, with USB Servo and Power Boards, and a Brain Board based on the ODROID U3. The competition has now been running for eight years, and remains free for teams to enter thanks to our sponsors and many volunteers.

The challenge: Capture the Flag

The 2015 arena layout
The 2015 arena layout

For this year’s game, the competitors had to build and program robots to capture and keep as many flags (large wooden cubes on castors) as possible within the three-minute games. Full details can be found in the rulebook.

The standard remained high this year, with a wide variety of approaches. Many teams chose to gamble on speed, dashing for the centre flag, bringing it back to their zone, and guarding it for the rest of the match. Others chose a more flexible approach, using their vision systems to adapt to the situation, often attempting to steal flags from their rivals. King Edward VI Grammar School’s approach was to drive slowly but carefully, a strategy which paid off, winning them 3rd Place and the Rookie Award.

Prizes

Winning the knockout is not the only prize-worthy achievement at Student Robotics. A complete list of prizes is shown below:

Prize Team
1st Place Bishop Wordsworth’s School
2nd Place Team Aculeus (Gordano School, Portishead)
3rd Place King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford
Committee Award Cranbrook School
Rookie Award King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford
First Robot Movement CATS Robotics (video)
Robot and Team Image 42 * 2 - Double Vision (Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf)
Online Presence Peter Symonds Robotics
The team from Cranbrook School, who won the Committee Award. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.
The team from Cranbrook School, who won the Committee Award. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.

The Committee Award, given for a simple and elegant solution to the year’s challenge, was awarded to Cranbrook School. The committee was impressed by their simple but effective circular design, which had no need for moving parts except for its two drive wheels.

The Rookie Award is for the rookie team who performed best in the knockouts. The First Movement Award is given to the first rookie team to demonstrate a moving robot.

The team from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf, who won the Robot and Team Image Award. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.
The team from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf, who won the Robot and Team Image Award. Photograph courtesy of Tyler Ward.

The Robot and Team Image prize is for the team which present themselves and their robot in the most outstanding and stylish manner. The winners this year, “42 * 2 - Double Vision” from Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf, came dressed as monks in hooded brown robes, laced with glowing LED strips. Hoods were a major theme this year, with Systemetric from Hills Road Sixth Form College dressing as sinister black-cloaked “Aluminati”.

The Online Presence award is given to the team with the best website, social media presence, or combination of the two.

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

The teams

44 teams made it to the competition this year, 20 of whom came from schools or colleges which had not competed before.

Student Robotics 2016 promises to be the biggest and best yet. If you’d like to compete, see the Compete page for more information. Start talking to your teachers and recruiting team members as soon as possible!

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 a two-day event for 54 teams and over 400 students.

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 end 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.

High resolution photographs of the event will be uploaded to the Flickr group. For more information, please [get in touch][contact].

The Student Robotics Team

  1. 1. Student Robotics is independent from the University of Southampton.