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Children and robots take on challenge

23 May 2017

It’s a competition for groups of children to develop problem-solving and programming skills and use them to win a range of contests. It’s organised by RoboCupJunior, which promotes artificial intelligence and robotics education.

Pam Popay BT Education Strategy lead at Adastral Park says: “All the challenges are designed to develop the students’ teamwork, problem-solving and logic skills. Once they’ve developed the skills to program the virtual and real robots they develop strategies to score the most points or traverse courses in the best and fastest way.”

Award winners

It’s our fourth time hosting the UK event which is run by our volunteers. The competition involves programming a virtual robot to navigate a disaster site and “find and rescue” survivors, scoring points as they go. Last year’s winners went on to become world champions in the international competition.

Simple, programmable robots are now affordable enough for most schools, so this year we introduced a new line tracking challenge.

Pupils had to construct and program a small “crumblebot”. It uses light sensors to recognise a line drawn on the floor and follow it. The tracks the robots had to negotiate included a maze, a cross country run and a sprint.

Pupils from Holbrook Primary School won the Primary Rescue League, while the County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds won the Secondary Rescue League. Westley Middle School won the line tracking competition.

Westbourne Academy pupil Jack Bannister says: “It’s good fun. I think it’s the fact you’re challenging yourself to see how you get on. You don’t always get instant results.”

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