A Year in UBRobotics
This academic year has been an exciting time in UBRobotics as we have expanded significantly in terms of our membership, our activities, and our capabilities.
Now as Easter is fast approaching, it is once again full steam ahead for the Eurobot robotics competition! Having taken 3rd place in the UK last year and the year before that, we are keen to set a new personal best and go for one of the top spots. This year we have attracted members from not just Mechanical Engineering, but also Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and Computer Science, allowing us to benefit from a much broader range of knowledge and hence we have been able to develop some more advanced systems and designs.
The Autumn Term saw the acquisition of our first 3D printer, which we have experimented with extensively. Then in January, one of our members purchased another 3D printer in kit form which we have assembled and modified to improve the print quality. These machines have revolutionised our ability to prototype and produce components for our robots, and we have been thoroughly impressed with this new technology. We hope to continue exploring the potential uses for these machines in the future.
In the Spring Term, as we celebrated the Club’s second birthday, we were invited to participate in the work being carried out in the School of Engineering on industrial and collaborative robot arms. Our members played a part in developing this new installation, assisting early work on safety, programming and set-up. UBRobotics members very much enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with such advanced and complex machinery, and it gave us a good insight into how robotics is applied in industrial engineering.
Another aspect of the Club which was completely new this academic year was our workshop program for teaching basic electronics and programming to our new members. Run mainly during the Autumn Term, these sessions introduced new students to Arduino, Raspberry Pi and prototyping circuits on solderless breadboards. Hopefully these will help to ensure that people have the best opportunity to gain experience in robotics, and also reinforce the transfer of knowledge from the more experienced students to the new ones.
This year our Club even has been given a workshop room in the School of Engineering. Equipped with the two 3D printers, a workbench full of tools, two PCs with all the software we require, and enough tables and chairs for small meetings, it serves as the new home of the Club and is where we conduct almost all of our robotics work. Located next to the robotics laboratory, we are happy to be integrated into the ever expanding robotics interests of the University.
Next year we will continue to raise our capabilities, with ambitions of fielding a strong team at the Eurobot International Finals, as well as playing a greater role in assisting with and participating in robotics research in the School of Engineering.
A very big thank you to all of the staff and students who have generously given their time and expertise to make this another successful year for the Club. It is very rewarding to see it continue to develop. If you have enjoyed reading our newsletters and updates over the year please consider nominating us for an EPS Societies’ Award!