A glimpse of the Welwyn Regional VEX competition at Stanborough School
This month we attended the robot extravaganza that was the Welwyn Regional VEX competition. In our capacity as both sponsors and judges, Alex Harvey (head of robotic and autonomous systems) and Clifton Hoyle (automation controls software engineer) spent the day at the event hosted by Stanborough School (more info on our blog). The day was jam-packed with heated In the Zone matches taking place on two pitches simultaneously. The 28 teams from all over London and Hertfordshire battled their robots against each other during the qualifiers, until the heat was turned up a notch and the individual teams organised themselves into alliances for the final battles.
The competition was fierce, but in the end the 28 teams were whittled down to just three overall champions: HBS The Purge and HBS Killerbyte from Henrietta Barnett School in London, and Team Control Freaks from The John Warner School in Hoddesdon. All three will now be moving on to compete in the VEX UK Nationals later this year. HBS The Purge also took home the Excellence Award, qualifying them to enter in the World VEX competition!
This does not mean the end of the road for the other 25 teams hoping to make it to the next stage of VEX 2018; regional competitions are still in progress throughout the UK, and a winning streak at any of them would provide these teams with the chance to progress to the next level.
I spoke to Clifton Hoyle to find out more about the atmosphere at the day long VEX event:
It was a delight to see so much excitement and enthusiasm with each team frantically preparing their robots for competition. As a judge I got to see the team logbooks where they recorded their design process and calculations. I talked to the teams and learned what problems they had encountered and what solutions they had found to improve their bots.
You could see a wide range of experience, with this being the first competition ever for some teams and the fifth competition this season for others. They all rose to the challenge of making a robot that could pick up and stack cones on various targets. There was a fantastic sense of teamwork and knowledge sharing, with stronger teams passing on advice to the others. I was impressed with what I saw and I wished that I had had an opportunity like this when I was in school. Very promising engineering talent on display!“
All the teams undeniably demonstrated commendable engineering skills and teamwork, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next year! Events like these really promote STEM fields as accessible and engaging, bringing us one step closer to welcoming an increased number of future engineers. As 2018 is The Year of Engineering, the skills gap is receiving more attention than ever before, highlighting the fact that we should never lose sight of our goal – guiding children to realise their true potential and helping to mould the next generation of innovative engineers.
We’re also happy to announce that Stanborough School’s Shark Robotics team have claimed another victory at last week’s Robot Rumble competition! As sponsors, we’re very excited to see how they continue to progress over the coming year’s robotics competitions.
Holly Godwin, Technology Communications Assistant