Parkside's Team Brute Force took their robots to RAF Scampton for the regional heat of the tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge.
Team members Oliver Rhodes, Emily Wood, Albert Lawler, Tomas Windle, Lucy Stephenson and Farrell Gale – from Parkside’s STEM science and technology club – had designed and built their machines in school.
The robots were tested in a drag race, a challenge mat with seven RAF ‘aviation missions’, and the surprise team work challenge.
Students also had to give a robot design presentation, and devise a solution to a contemporary engineering problem faced by professionals in the aviation industry.
The challenge was intended to introduce student teams to real-world engineering, technology, robotics and computing challenges, putting school learning into context and introducing students to potential careers.
The students were met at RAF Scampton by engineers from the Red Arrows aerobatic team, before racing a robot on a four-metre course.
The RAF’s bomb disposal robot Erik kicked started the heats with the fastest time on the day of 1.66 seconds, followed by Parkside’s Lego robot – designed by Albert Lawler and Tomas Windle –that took 2.34 seconds.
The students then completed their first attempt at the challenge mat, improving their score in their second round by adjusting their programming of the robot’s light sensor to take into account different light conditions in the hangar compared with the school classroom.
The team, led by Oliver Rhodes, then gave their research presentation on how robots could be used to help with humanitarian aid after a natural disaster.
They told how they had visited the Technical Rescue Unit at Cleckheaton Fire Station to interview Watch Commander Darren Haley about firefighters’ equipment and how his team might benefit from using robots in their rescues.
Emily Wood then went on to design and draw a suitable humanitarian aid robot. Albert Lawler made a Lego model of a landslide to demonstrate the types of issues a robot could encounter in a disaster area.
The judges commented on the level of detail the students went into, including their research visit.
The Red Arrows engineers asked students to complete a maths maths-based challenge and select the right tools to insert three mock explosives into an ejector seat.
Team Brute Force won trophies for fastest speed robot and humanitarian aid research presentation, as well as becoming overall regional winners, beating Goole Academy into second place.
Red Arrows pilots chatted to the students before taking the skies for a 40-minute air display.
Lydia Cooper, who facilitates the Parkside STEM club with Andrew Mangham, said: “The students have worked very hard on this project, under the supervision of team captain Oliver Rhodes and deserved this recognition for their efforts.
“They are a pleasure to work with and are true assets to the school, by the way they conducted themselves on the day and how they engaged with the staff at RAF Scampton and other students who entered the regional competition.”
Team Brute Force will this month compete in the national finals at the Big Bang Fair at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.