How to engineer a robot
Press release issued: 23 March 2010
Tomorrow [Wednesday 24 March] 64 year nine female students from schools across the region will be spending a day at the University's Faculty of Engineering designing their own robots and energy efficient vehicles.
Working with academic staff and postgraduate students from Bristol University’s Faculty of Engineering the students, through hands-on challenges, will program a robot to find a light source (a torch) through a maze of obstacles. They will also design and build their own model electric car and compete with other teams to see which car will travel the furthest on the same amount of energy. At the end of the day, they will find out what the next steps are if they want to become an engineer or a computer scientist.
The aim of the event, run in partnership with Headstart, is to demonstrate that computer science and electrical and electronic engineering are interesting and stimulating subjects that have many valuable applications. They will also learn how autonomous robots and vehicles can be designed to navigate independently and the importance of making them energy-efficient.
The Dragonfly Day, for 12-15 year old girls, is part of Headstart’s diversity programme, targeting groups under-represented in higher education courses and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Headstart is a well-established education programme that organises a range of courses to encourage school pupils interested in mathematics and science to consider technology-based careers.
Professor Mark Beach, Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: “Electrical and electronic engineering is key to modern-day life and used in every day appliances from personal devices to the complex systems within an aircraft.
“A unique feature of our industry is the number of small companies based in the UK who are the power house behind the innovative design skills driving wealth generation and products to improve quality of life. We should make more of the fact that so much is designed here in the UK and expand our skill base in this sector.”
Dr Wendy Daniell, Project Manager in the Engineering Faculty Office who has co-ordinated the day, said: “The proportion of girls studying computer science and electrical and electronic engineering degrees in the UK (about 13 per cent and seven per cent respectively) are relatively low compared to other physical sciences and have remained fairly static for a number of years. Not only that, but the numbers of UK students applying for and accepting degrees in these two disciplines declined dramatically over the last decade.
“The UK needs more graduates in these disciplines to support the engineering and technology sectors which are important to the country’s economic future and for overcoming the global technological challenges we face. It is important to attract more school students to study degrees in these subjects now.”
Further informationThe next University Open Days for prospective undergraduates will take place on 25 June and 22 September 2010.
The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol is amongst the best in the UK in terms of teaching and research, with in-depth specialisation in Electrical Energy Management and Advanced Communications Technologies (Power- and Spectrum-Efficient Wireless Access, Image & Video Signal Processing, Photonics and Quantum Information). All its degree programmes are accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and meet the educational requirements for Chartered Engineer status. For further information contact Professor Mark Beach, Head of Department, tel: (0117) 954 5190, email M.A.Beach@bristol.ac.uk
For undergraduate degree programmes (BEng and MEng) enquiries, contact Professor Ian Craddock, Undergraduate Admissions Tutor, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol is an international centre of excellence in the foundations and applications of computing. Staff in the department carry out internationally leading research in Intelligent Systems, Digital Media, Foundations, Personal Systems, and Architecture and Design. Computer science - and its application across all sciences, computational science - is currently revolutionising a wide range of human activities, but is also itself undergoing revolutionary change. The department’s mission is to anticipate and drive these developments in the aforementioned areas.
Research within the department is organised around five broad research themes, which are:
· Intelligent Systems including traditional AI, machine learning, and biologically inspired computing.
· Computer vision and image processing, including medical imaging, vision-based animation, SLAM, and signal processing.
· Personal Systems including robotics, wearable computing, computer graphics and public computing.
· HARE: Systems Architecture and Design including computer architecture, design, verification, algorithms and languages.
Headstart is a well-established education programme whose aim is to encourage students interested in mathematics or science to consider technology-based careers.