Call for Proposals now open - UCL’s Annual Teaching and Learning Conference is a chance for staff to come together from across the diverse disciplines and departments within the university, in order to develop and improve teaching, learning and assessment through collegial dialogue and exchange. More...
Published: Nov 19, 2013 1:44:55 PM
Following on from the success of last year's Summits and Horizons series of events, there will be a new portfolio of sessions for this academic year. The event, a joint venture between CALT and E-LE, is a series of lunchtime events looking at new e-learning in UCL in which two or three speakers discuss how they've used new technologies in their teaching. More...
Published: Oct 21, 2013 1:12:07 PM
A series of lunchtime sessions on topics of collegial interest open to all UCL staff. Sandwiches and refreshments are supplied. Please register so we have accurate numbers for catering.
Published: Oct 10, 2013 2:22:47 PM
UCL’s desktop service is changing to Desktop@UCL for the new academic year, and the project team have planned a series of drop-in sessions to help people get acquainted with the new system. More...
Published: Sep 12, 2013 11:25:22 AM
The Bartlett is providing postgrads with vital graphics skills before they arrive at UCL via the Urban Skills Portal.
Robot Grand Prix 2012 is a resounding success
8 June 2012
Friday June 1st 2012 saw the inaugural Robot Grand Prix, an event just as zany as it sounds, held by UCL’s Department of Computer Science and sponsored by Morgan Stanley.
The race was the culmination of a ten-week module in which first-year undergraduates learn to program a robot and move it successfully around a course.
The students had not seen the track layout until the morning of the race, at which point they had to battle the clocks to program their robots to understand the twists and turns of the course. With 24 teams of two or three students, this was a buzzing event in which the tension was palpable and the competition intense.
Professor Mark Handley, who conceptualised the Program a Robot module with help from Dr Dean Mohamedally and some of his PhD students, designed the robots and had them manufactured in-house with help from the department’s technicians. Given the somewhat violent bumps the robots were subjected to while the students got to grips with programming, it is fortunate that they were built with robustness in mind.
But while the robots themselves were relatively basic in structure, the task was not. Dr Graham Roberts, who also worked on the project, said: “This wasn’t simply a case of us telling the students to make the robot move forward. Using a low-level interface, the students had to specify how much power the robots would use in wheel rotation, using C programming language to generate a set of instructions that were transmitted wirelessly from a laptop or netbook to the android phones on top of each robot. It was quite a challenge because we simply pointed them towards the guidance material and let them work the rest out for themselves.”
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At around 4pm, after hours of meticulously timed laps and many cries of "penalty!", the winning duo was announced: it was Michael Boon and Richard Davis. Michael said: “I’ve really enjoyed this module; it’s been good fun and we’ve learned a lot. Working with a partner has been a useful experience because we’ll all be working in teams when we get jobs.”
Richard added, “It feels great to win but I think it was mainly down to luck: everyone did really well and there was a lot of tough competition. Our plans now are to go and celebrate our win by chilling out in the park and then enjoy our summer!”
Images: Harriet Gaunt
Video: Graham Roberts
Page last modified on 07 jun 12 16:38
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