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Department of Engineering

Robotics-based competition inspires young minds

Robotics-based competition inspires young minds

The Department of Engineering played host to a space-themed robot games tournament designed to spark children’s interest in real world issues and develop their technology skills.

Looking at the children’s robots and projects, not only have I been amazed by their ingenuity, but also by their resilience and persistence.

Bobby Seagull

Around 200 children from across East Anglia descended on the Department for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) FIRST® LEGO® League Cambridge regional tournament, supported by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. The children, aged nine to 16, built and programmed robots to compete in the regional challenge which was compered by maths teacher and TV personality Bobby Seagull (Emmanuel College). 

The theme for this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League is ‘INTO ORBIT’. The field mats that the teams competed on included a number of different space-themed LEGO® structures that represented a range of tasks performed by astronauts, space stations and rover bots. The children programmed their autonomous robots to interact with these in order to complete a variety of missions and score points.

Team CERC from Cambourne Electronics and Robotics Club won the FIRST® LEGO® League Champions’ Award. They will now progress to the UK and Ireland final, taking place in Bristol in February.

Cambridge Home Educating Families was announced the winner of the Robot Games, with ‘Pizza, the Cambridge Robot’ having scored the most points during the missions.

This year’s set project assignment, which saw teams identify and solve a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration within our sun’s solar system, was won by Swavesey Science Club from Swavesey Village College. 

And Shirley Community Primary School won the Core Values award in recognition of their exceptional demonstration of team work, enthusiasm and collaboration throughout the entire tournament. 

This year’s Best Newcomer award went to team Trinity Titans from Trinity School Sevenoaks. 

Event MC Bobby Seagull said: “I was delighted to get involved with the FIRST® LEGO® League competition because it’s a chance for children to really get involved with something practical where they can show off their knowledge that they’ve been working on in the classroom. It shows them that the things they have been learning in class, if they put an application to it, it can really open up a whole new world in terms of careers and opportunities.

“Looking at the children’s robots and projects, not only have I been amazed by their ingenuity, but also by their resilience and persistence,” he added.

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