Three teams of students from Imperial College London and Middlesex University will travel to Russia later this year to take part in an international robotics tournament.
The three teams won the national Eurobot competition that took place last week at the department of engineering and product design at Middlesex University. The competition saw nine teams of students tasked with building small autonomous robots to compete in a 90-second chess competition.
The robots featured sophisticated sensors, motion controllers and camera systems to enable them to play chess to score points. The winning team came from Imperial College, with the second and third-placed teams coming from Middlesex University.
“Eurobot is in its thirteenth year now and the competition goes from strength to strength,” says Dr Stephen Prior, a reader in autonomous unmanned systems at Middlesex University, who oversaw the competition. “The students source the parts and build the robots. It's a great way for them to apply what they have learnt in lectures while having a bit of fun.
“Some of the teams were up until midnight the night before the tournament, refining what they had built. They worked really hard and the tournament was really competitive. The top three teams will now go forward to the Eurobot finals 2011, which will take place in Astrakhan, Russia from the 22nd to the 27th of June.”
In past competitions, students have built robots to play football, rugby and golf. Prior says that it is not always the most sophisticated robot that performs the best. “Most importantly, the robots have to work over 90 seconds. Sometimes the simplest designs are the best. The students have to work smart to ensure they produce a working robot within their budget.”
Middlesex University has a good record in the Eurobot tournament, having a strong robotics department. “We are really proud to go forward and represent the UK in what will be the "best-of-the-best" in robotics technology at the finals in Russia,” says Prior.