As part of its YES (Young Engineers Support) programme, igus has backed many universities for several years with free engineering advice and products – supporting university teams participating in the Eurobot challenge is one such programme. The winning team of the Eurobot UK final are from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton, which received a robolink articulated robotic arm from igus.
Eurobot is an international amateur robotics contest open to teams of young people, organised either in student projects or in independent clubs. The challenge aims to foster and develop interest in robotics, asking the teams to build and design robots capable of completing set tasks without human control. The UK final was held at Middlesex University with around 32 teams from five universities – Middlesex, Glasgow, Imperial, Birmingham and UoS.
Engineering students at the University of Southampton entered the Eurobot challenge as a second year project, which is part of their Systems Design & Computing module. This year’s theme ‘moon village’ saw robots competing to pick up lunar modules and different components on a 3×2m table. Dr Stephen Prior, Reader in Unmanned Air Vehicles at the University of Southampton says: “It’s a great way to teach system engineering and physical computing using Arduino. This is the fourth year that Southampton teams have entered Eurobot, and the fourth year that we have come first.”
The top three teams of the UK final – Southampton, Southampton and Glasgow – went on to the Eurobot World Championships held in La Roche-Sur-Yon, France where 100 teams from 30 countries competed. Dr Prior recounts: “We had a good time in France. However, having won our first four matches out of five in the round robin phase, we had a system failure in the last match and scored no points. Our second team didn’t do too well in the early rounds, however, had a sprint in the last two matches, and just missed out on the top 16 team cut by six points.”
Although the two Southampton teams left France empty handed, they, along with their fellow students, will be focusing on learning the robolink system in the coming months and years. Dr Prior says: “We have used igus products in our projects and research – we believe the robolink articulated arm will be a great product for engineers and manufacturing.”