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Can you build a robot that beats an Oxford robot? Oxford RobotGames announced


Do you know any talented 13-15 year-olds who’d like to build a robot and pitch it against the Oxford University machines?

Oxford University's Computer Science Department will be welcoming school teams of Year 9 and 10 pupils (age 13-15) from UK State schools to the inaugural Oxford RobotGames to be held on 5th of October, (Edit: sorry, this date is now full) and again on the 9th December 2011.

These one-day events will see the students attending an introductory lecture on the science behind robots, then designing and building a wheeled robot using Lego Mindstorms, under the guidance of Oxford University staff and students. The teams will have the chance to pit their designs against the Oxford University machines in two robot Olympics-style challenges; a sprint and a hurdle event.

There will be a small prize for the winning team on each day; with the overall winners — the team who completes both challenges in the combined fastest time — having the honour of naming the newest Oxford University Computer Science Department robot.

The science behind the RobotGames is based around cutting-edge research being carried out at Oxford: two very important (and closely-linked) areas of application are robotic exploration and robotic search-and-rescue. Robotic exploration involves exploration of locations that are hazardous or inaccessible to humans (such as mine fields, contaminated zones, other planets, or underwater environments). Robotic search and rescue is useful since robots may be deployed in dangerous environments without putting human responders at risk.

The academic team at the Department of Computer Science are particularly involved in developing techniques to help a team of robots efficiently map an environment and report on their findings. Many of the same kind of challenges they face — getting robots to balance, remain stable, sense objects — will be explored by teams during the RobotGames.

The team behind the RobotGames have themselves recently returned from taking part in RoboCup, the Robot World Cup in Istanbul.

This event is being supported by CAS, the Computing at School Working Group.

Further information about the Oxford RobotGames, including how to  request places at these events for your school, is available at  (Edit: We are still taking requests for spaces for the December date)