Blog

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Robots 4 Sport

Robots can play sport –

Robot Football

Robot football is a sport organised in Korea since

1995 with 6 different leagues

  • HuroSot – Humanoid robots up to 150 cm high and 30 kg in weight.
  • KhperaSot – Cylindrical autonomous robots with onboard vision systems.
  • Mirosot – Robots up to 75mm cube. 3, 5, 7 or 11 a-side.
  • NaroSot – 4c square robots up to 5.5 cm high.
  • Quadrosot – four-legged robots.
  • SimuroSot – PC-based simulation over both 5-a-side and 11-a-side.

 

robot football
robot football

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RoboCup

Robot Ping pong

Keep up with the robot Human !!

In development since 2005, it recognizes very fast moving objects, has a low inertia mechanical system, and even has an artificial intelligence.

 

Table-Tennis-and-Robotics
Table-Tennis-and-Robotics

 

https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/ping-pong-playing-terminator

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/series/amazing-world-of-sport+technology/robots

 

Fighting robots

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_Fighting_League

megabots

MegaBots are 15-foot-tall, internally piloted humanoid robots that fire cannonball-sized paintballs at each other at speeds of over 120 miles per hour.

https://www.megabots.com/

megabots
megabots

 

Robot wars

The series, centred on the sport of robot combat, involves teams of amateur and professional roboteers operating their own constructed robots to fight against each other, whilst also avoiding arena hazards and more powerful “House Robots”, which were not bound by the same weight or weapon limits as the contestants

Robot Wars
Robot Wars

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_Wars_(TV_series)

http://www.robotwars.tv/

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Robot Hire

Robot Hire – Hire a robot for an event

Robot Hire -JoshMK2

Robot Hire -JoshMK2

Why Hire a Robot for your Event?

There are many excellent reasons for hiring a robot. Robots are educational, inspirational, and a great deal of fun. They are the perfect way to grab the attention of the public and to get your message across. Robot technology has advanced enormously over recent years; if you haven’t yet experienced the latest generation of the kind of robots you might hire for a special event, then you will probably be surprised by how versatile and clever they have become.

What can a modern hire robot do?

Robots have been created for a wide range of applications, including building cars and driving them. They are even used in hospitals for general duties and helping out nurses with everyday tasks, and it won’t be long before they are routinely helping carry out operations. But the kind of mobile robot you are looking for will have been designed for almost exclusively entertainment. These robots combine leading edge robotics technology with media arts to create humanoid machines capable of advanced behaviours designed to impress, entertain and educate.

How big are hire robots?

Most robots that you would hire for an event are typically adult human size up to around seven feet tall; but if you intend to use a robot for entertaining young children, then you wouldn’t wish to frighten them with such a beast that might look as if it stepped right out of an SF movie. For entertaining young children, robots as small as one foot tall are available, though for older children the best choice might be something like a five feet robot.

How are hire robots controlled?

While many hire robots are radio controlled devices where the operator, located some distance away, controls the action, the latest generation of these machines incorporate more advanced technologies.

Modern leading edge hire robots are fully programmable and can perform a wide range of tasks including creating sounds and talking; often the operator might get involved in the show and interact personally with the robot. Control would typically be via a hidden wi-fi or Bluetooth remote controller or a mobile phone/tablet. Typically, robots are also equipped with a range of sensors that allow them to react to any people who may approach them and then perform a set of pre-programmed behaviours. This can be an excellent way to grab the attention of your visitors.

Not all such behaviour is pre-programmed. Robots that appear autonomous may also be linked by audio and video to a hidden operator who will engage the visitor in a dialog.

Using a hire robot at your event

There are many ways for using a hire robot to add sparkle to your event, but the most popular are:

  • Present and promote product awareness – If you are an exhibitor you could get your robot to play the same role as a human demonstrator, grabbing the attention of passers-by and engaging them in a product demonstration – far more effective than merely providing a video display.
  • Entertain – You can focus on the entertainment angle getting your robot to sing, move around and put on a show. A hire robot will always entertain your guests in any setting, formal or informal.
  • Educate – You can use the robot to present educational material, for instance at conferences and award ceremonies. Take the robot with you to schools and colleges to deliver stunning seminars with a difference
  • Social media sensation – Post your hire robot video on YouTube; get your robot to send tweets – hire robots are a great way to create a social media sensation to promote your brand.

How effective are hire robots?

Robots are great attention grabbers; audiences of every age are impressed by them and what they can do. While grabbing the attention of your audience is the first step in any marketing or educational exercise, modern hire robots can also make significant strides in the total sales and teaching process imparting information compellingly. They will certainly add sparkle to your project.

Robot Hire- Josh Mk2
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Robots Toys for Christmas 2017

Robots Toys for Christmas 2017

 

all at www.robotsdirect.co.uk are going to be super busy.

 

Robots for Pre school

Dance and move Beat Mo 9 Months +

 

  • 3 modes of play: Dance ‘n Move, Learning and Games and the customisable Sing-Along mode
  • Dance ‘n Move: fun, energizing music encourages baby to dance
  • Learning and Games: introduces your little one to letters, colours, counting, music and much more
  • Sing-Along: record a phrase that BeatBo will remix into his favourite song!
  • Activate BeatBo by pressing his tummy or any of the 3 buttons on his feet

Activate fun songs, learning content and dance moves with the Bright Beats Dance and Move BeatBo! Just press his tummy or the buttons on his feet and get ready to move, dance and sing with him! BeatBo introduces your little one to letters, colours, counting, music and much more in 3 different modes of play: Dance ‘n Move, Learning and Games, and the customisable Sing-Along mode! Record a phrase and BeatBo will mix it into his favourite song! His 3 modes of play are designed to ‘grow’ with your baby for fun, educational play making him an excellent playtime companion for years to come!

Teach and TAG Movi – suitable for children 3 +

This robot is both educational and fun. It has 3 game modes and 6 games to choose from. Like a robot Simon says “movi says “designed to combine critical thinking skills with active play – our favourite game is Red light, Green light

Movi robot asks questions and encourages children. It spins over 360 degrees and can make over 60 facial expressions.

Big School robots

Batbot – robot batman take that robin ! Kerpow !

Wow this robot stands over 2 feet tall! It comes with wings, punching fists projectile launchers motor cycle and voice changer – what is not to love?

The Batbot – robot batman is a must for any batman fan

 

Transformers The last Knight – Autobot  squweeks

A small robot 21cm he comes with motion and sound effects. amazing dance moves and blaster moves. This remote controlled robot will be a hit for Christmas day – might even get Dad dancing (oh no!)

Zoomer Chimp – Robot monkey

This back flipping robot can do over 100 tricks – he can dance – even better than granny after too many sherries! This robot monkey also bumps and farts – naughty monkey!

Star Wars inventor kit

Children can create their own custom Droid™ and bring it to life. Using littleBits electronic blocks and the free Droid Inventor app, they’ll teach their R2 Unit new tricks and take it on over 16 missions. Then kids can level-up their inventor expertise and reconfigure their Droid to give it new skills, or design any Droid they can dream up.

Create your own R2 Unit
The kit comes with everything kids need to create and customize their R2 Unit straight out of the box. Initial assembly is easy with step-by-step instructions to create their Droid, and control it in Drive Mode, Self-Nav, Force™ Mode, and more.

Let your imagination run
After mastering their Droid Inventor skills, children continue on to challenges that spark creativity and get them inventing brand-new Droids.

Key features:

  • Comes with 6 Bits, 20 Droid parts, 3 sticker sheets, and the free littleBits Droid Inventor app

Robot Dash

Dash is a real (and super cute) robot that makes learning to code fun for kids. It easily responds to voice, navigating objects, dancing, and singing.  Dash presents your kids with hundreds of projects, challenges and puzzles as well as endless possibilities for freeform play.  Super fun!

 

Dash & Dot are real robots that teach your kids to code while they play. Using our free apps and a compatible tablet or smartphone, kids learn to code while they make Dash sing, dance and navigate all around the house. Sensors on the robot mean they react to the environment around them, including your kids.

 

 

  • LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox (With Bluetooth!) An innovative STEM toy that allows children to explore science, technology, engineering and maths, while having fun and developing their creativity and imagination
  • Helps develop coding and constructions skills
  • Create interactive, robotic models!
  • Download the free app and control your creations
  • Five models to build – Vernie, the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4), the Guitar4000, Frankie the Cat or the AutoBuilder
  • Includes over 840 LEGO pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor and a Colour & Distance Sensor
  • Move Hub features Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, 2 encoded motors, activation button, internal tilt sensor and a light
  • Interactive Motor is an encoded motor
  • Colour & Distance Sensor detects distance, motion and colour, and can also function as a light
  • Build and code robots and models, and complete exciting activities with the playmat and intuitive LEGO® BOOST app (available for iOS and Android tablet devices)
  • Building instructions for all 5 models are included with the free LEGO® BOOST app
  • Includes a LEGO BOOST wall poster!

Build, code and play with the LEGO Boost 17101 Creative Toolbox and take your LEGO building skills and experience to the next level! Learn to code and create models that you can play and interact with!

With this amazing set you can build a number of different robots and creations! As soon as you have finished building one, it’s up to you how long you wait until you rebuild it into something completely different! After you build them, you can control all creations via your tablet with the free downloadable app that also includes digital LEGO Building Instructions for all 5 models, plus cool activities and ideas to spark your imagination.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can build!

There’s Vernie – a moving, walking robot that launches darts from its shoulder mounted shooter! You can talk to Vernie and code its behaviour as well as complete fun activities with the included playmat. Vernie responds when you talk with facial expressions that reflect its current mood.

Vernie can move in all directions at different speeds on its large tracks, see objects and colours, sense distance, grip and carry accessories. Vernie also senses and reacts to impacts and knows when you pick it up.

  • Interactive educational and customizable robot
  • Able to sense its environment and wirelessly programmable

 

Sphero Star Wars BB-9E App-Enabled Droid

– Authentic Movement // Whether you’re driving or on Patrol, BB-9E rolls just like on-screen.
– Holographic Simulation // Explore the Star Wars galaxy with the app and the Droid Trainer.
– Droid-to-Droid Experience // Watch BB-9E interact with other Star Wars App-enabled Droids by Sphero.
– Watch with Me // View films from the Star Wars saga with BB-9E by your side.
– Signature LEDs // BB-9E’s dome is equipped with vibrant LED lights.

 

Cozmo

This playful robot is full of personality! Cozmo expresses a wide range of real emotions in response to his environment. Anki’s innovative and powerful technology lets Cozmo interact with the world around him and make decisions based on his mood.

 

From all at www.robotsdirect.co.uk  wishing a happy and safe robot Christmas 2017

Keep calm and robot on.

 

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Robots 4 Food

Robots make food

Good god – robots are flipping burgers now – time to study hard

Burger flipping robot

Flippy was engineered as a robotic arm that used thermal and 3-D imaging and camera vision to sense when to flip and remove burgers from the grillHowever, according to USA Today, the robot could not keep up with demand.

https://misorobotics.com/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2018/03/15/the-rise-and-fall-burger-flipping-robot/NNzYiUa7IWWYy9UHI3D3XO/story.html

 

pizza robot

Founded in 2015, Zume Pizza uses robotics and artificial intelligence to make pizza more quickly.

The robotic pizza-making process mirrors the traditional method, albeit with a few high-tech twists. Rather than hand-toss dough balls into their circular pizza shape, which can be tiresome and mind-numbingly repetitive for human chefs, a customized hydraulic press, dubbed Doughbot, smashes the ball into shape. The pizza crust then travels down a conveyor belt to the saucing station, where a pair of extruders named Pepe and Giorgio slather the dough with marinara or alfredo sauce. From there, a fourth robot named Marta uses a multi-axis arm to evenly spread the sauce. The pizza then continues along the conveyor to the topping station — one of the few steps in this process where human hands are involved.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/06/28/these-pizza-making-robots-can-have-a-hot-pie-at-your-door-in-4-minutes/?utm_term=.349200ae76b7

 

pizza delivery

DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit) is an autonomous delivery vehicle and is set to take the world by storm.

https://www.dominos.com.au/inside-dominos/technology/dru

 

http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/19/soon-your-dominos-pizza-will-be-delivered-by-robots-5761592/

 

Robot delivery

https://www.forbes.com/sites/parmyolson/2018/01/31/amazon-just-sparked-a-race-to-bring-robots-to-our-doors/#5f1072982b3a

 

 

http://www.zdnet.com/article/food-tech-firm-woowa-brothers-developing-delivery-robot/

https://www.starship.xyz/

Robotic Kitchen

Moley has created the world’s first robotic kitchen. Featuring an advanced, fully functional robot integrated into a beautifully designed, professional kitchen, it cooks with the skill and flair of a master chef.

http://www.moley.com/

https://mollievandor.com/2010/02/24/robot-cooks-machines-can-prepare-sushi-rock-a-chefs-hat/

http://uk.businessinsider.com/food-robots-that-could-replace-humans-in-the-kitchen-2016-8/#-8

 

Keep Calm and Robot on .

 

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Robots 4 Schools – back to school robots

 

A guide to robots in UK schools: STEM skills, programming, autism therapies and more!

Robots in the classroom aren’t a new phenomenon, but they’re really starting to boom. From primary age upwards, teachers across the country are introducing robots into the timetable. Here’s a guide to how robots are being used in education and what’s available for schools in the UK.

Why use robots to support children’s education?

Robots are fun – there’s no denying that. Children enjoy interacting with robots, it helps blur the lines between play time and class time -allowing children to learn through play and get truly engaged. To excite children about subjects such as mathematics, science, advanced ICT and engineering it’s vital that they are brought to life rather than kept to a text book.
This is where robots become more than just a fun classroom activity, they can truly unlock STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills and talent. Building, programming and working with robots can teach children so many skills forming the foundations of a future STEM career.

Robots can also introduce transferrable life skills such as logic, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and teamwork. These are abilities that are essential for education settings and vocations in later life.

Finally, robots are being utilised for learners with SEN (Special Educational Needs), providing inspiration and entirely new methods of discovering subjects.

The truly unique aspect of using robots for child development is that they are appropriate for children of all ages and abilities, and there so many different products out there to suit everyone.

How are robots being used in the classroom?

Getting more students into engineering, particularly girls
The UK is facing a shortage of engineers. We need 100,000 new graduates in STEM subjects every year until 2020 just to maintain current employment numbers. Out of the current engineering workforce in the UK, only 9% are female, the lowest figure in Europe. (Source: Women in Engineering Society)

A study of pupils participating in the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC), an international competition where pupils build innovative robots to solve a challenge, showed a positive impacted on interest in STEM. 92% of respondents wanted to learn more about robotics and 90% more about engineering. A higher percentage of females felt that VRC made them want to learn more about robotics and made them more interested in wanting to take STEM in school and college.

Drone classes
Tynker, uses a coding-through-games philosophy and recently launched a new project teaching coding through drone lessons. Hundreds of schools in USA have signed up and they’re soon to launch in the UK. Schools buy drones and download a free set of drone lessons. Children can then learn to build drones, how to fly them, perform some amazing tricks and operate the drones to work together as a team.

Josie McKay, a teacher at a school taking part in this programme said “Each week these students develop new and more challenging goals for themselves, work together, and code their drone accordingly. The excitement on their faces when they achieve their goal, especially when it is completed in a short amount of time, is infectious.” (Source, BBC News)

Therapy
Robots are currently being used to help as a therapy tool for children with autism.

Check out this video of a robot specifically designed for children with autism: https://youtu.be/hAF5k5qOJPY

There’s a few products on the market, one being ‘Ask NAO’, which is being used in special needs school and classrooms in the UK.
Where can I start?
If you’re an educator, here are just a few examples of robots and packages available that may be a good place to start your robot journey:

Edbot
The Edbot teaches children aged seven upwards how to programme. It speaks most popular programming languages being taught in schools, such as Scratch, Python and Javascript.

robots in schools
  robots in schools   Edbot is a registered trademark of Robots in Schools Ltd.

https://vimeo.com/158197777

LEGO EV3 programmer app
The classic toy that caught so many of our imaginations growing up. The new free EV3 Programmer app makes building and programming LEGO robots faster, smarter and even more fun.

Roaming Robots
Roaming Robots have a range of classroom programmes available teaching students to build their own ‘Robot Wars’ style robots with an aim of inspiring children into a STEM career.

http://www.roamingrobots.co.uk/school_projects

RES tech
RES tech help teachers engage with students in STEM & Computing by giving them hands on robot building and programming workshops.

http://www.zobotics.tech/

Keep calm and robot on.

 

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Summer Robots

Robots at the science museum

So schools out! Will we see any robots on our holidays oh yes.

We visited the robot exhibition at the science museum in London – bit of a journey but oh so worth it.

The robot exhibit had been running since 8 th Feb and goes on till 3rd sept where it moves on to Manchester LINK HERE

500 years ago the word robot didn’t exist then came the dawn of mechanical human forms that were found in churches theatres etc – through to the amazing robots and cutting edge technology that we see today

Robots at the science museum reveals the 500 year quest to make mechanisms of the body and mechanisms of the mind

Where are we going next in this robot quest?

Robots at the science museum is a must for any robot fan

Five Stars

 

 Robots that are making our life easier this summer

 

GRILLBOT – yep its BBQ season once again but did you clean the grill from last year err nope

The robot that can clean this is the GRILLBOT

The grillbot does all the grill cleaning for us and no more scrubbing

 

robot cleaning
Robot cleaning BBQ

 

POOL cleaning robot

So you have an outside swimming pool lucky you. A robot pool cleaner can cover every nook and cranny of you r pool cleaning algae and grime. The biggest benefit of having a robot pool cleaner is that it saves you money

 

robot cleaning
robot cleaning pool

Robot mix me a drink

App controlled robot bartender mix cocktails at your fingertips to make the perfect cocktail in seconds

 

robot drinks machine
robot drinks maker

Have a great robot summer

Keep calm a and robot on .

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Robot News – Uk Robotics week and Transformers 5

Robot News

The second annual UK Robotics Week will take place 24th-30th June and will see a huge range of events, showcases and challenges taking place across the UK. During the same week the new transformers movie is being released. We are very excited!

What’s going on in UK Robotics week 2017

Challenges.
UK Robotics Week have been running a number of challenges for both adults and children to design robots with specific themes.
Children aged 4-18 years old have been taking part in a competition to design a virtual robot bug and teach it to move. The closing date for applications was back in April, but keep an eye out for next years’ challenges!

For adults there are exciting themed challenges with prizes up to £10,000. Though most of them are no longer accepting submissions, there is one that will be taking place during UK Robotics week about extreme environments which is an international competition to build robust emergency response systems.


Events
There are a vast number of events taking place across the UK over the next few months. The activities are extraordinarily diverse ranging from machine morality and ethics, to a LEGO WeDo course for those looking for an easy but effective way of teaching robotics in KS2 Computing and a panel discussion about role models and women in tech. Like we said, there’s a lot going on so make sure you check it out here.

Conferences.
Hamlyn Symposium 25th – 28th June 2017
This four day conference includes workshops on clinical and technical topics and speakers covering subjects submitted by engineers, researchers and clinicians.

Delegates will also include professionals from leading science, technology and medical institutions. Find out more and register for your place here.

International Robotics Showcase 30th June
This really is the event to attend, with everything you could want from a showcase dedicated to all things robot!

Demonstrations of the latest robotics technology, exciting discussions and debate, brand new, cutting-edge white papers and exhibits from global leaders in a variety of fields. There will also be an award ceremony for all challenge winners. Find out more and book your tickets for the International Robotics Showcase here.

The Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) Conference 19th – 21st July 2017.
This conference will include presentations, discussions and exhibitions that showcase the latest results and methods of autonomous robotics research and applications. Find out more on the UK Robotics Week website.
As if that wasn’t enough, the fifth in the Transformers series is being released the same week…

Transformers, Robots in disguise.

The New Transformers Movie, The Last Knight.
This science fiction action film series is loved by robotics fans worldwide. The four previous Transformers films have had mixed reviews from critics but nobody can doubt the quality of the action, music and the transformers themselves. The visual effects used are the reasons that we always go back for more and the trailer for The Last Knight certainly looks like it won’t disappoint!

The Story.
Humans and Transformers are at war and Optimus Prime is gone. The history of the Transformers on earth contains secrets crucial to saving the future. This story redefines what it means to be a hero with good becoming bad and bad transforming to evil.
The Last Knight will be released on 23rd June 2017.

As you can see there is plenty to look forward to this month. Our biggest challenge will be how to fit it all in! We’d love to hear from you if you are attending any of the events. Please get in touch  Contact us

Keep calm and robot on.

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Robots Direct Rebooted

                     

The Robot Reboots…
Here at Robots Direct, we have a few reasons to celebrate…

robot news

This year we are 12 years old and so are undertaking a bit of an overhaul. Our website has been relaunched (Isn’t it nice and shiny? – Just like our robots!) AND there are lots of exciting things that we will be announcing throughout the year on all things robot and robot hire. So keep your eyes peeled.

If you are new to Robots Direct, you might be wondering who we are and what we do, so here is a bit of background:

Where did it all begin?
Our founder and managing director Iain Londesborough – About Us  has proudly been involved in the field of robots and robotics since 1997. He set up Robots Direct in 2005 while completing his Open University Degree. His dissertation was about personal robotics, specifically; The Robomow.

What is Robots Direct?
It is a one-stop shop for all things robot! Our aim is to educate, amuse and inspire which means we sell and hire robots that are just for fun, to impress at your next event or to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics) learning Click Here For Info

We love robots. Who doesn’t? For that reason, our mission is to bring robots directly into your life.
Robots for sale.
Whether domestic, educational or purely for entertainment we have a robot for you. We sell a range of robot toys as well as robot kits if you are interested in learning more about how robots work. Need a little help around the house? We have robots that will clean your floor or mow your lawn, who knows what we’ll be selling next!

Robot hire
I get why I might want to buy a robot, but why would I want to hire one?
Some of our robots are very impressive, which means they are also very expensive! It’s much cheaper to hire a robot to impress people at your next; party, conference, launch event or festival. A robot would definitely make your company stand out and help with promoting your product or brand, you will certainly leave a lasting impression. Want to see examples of some of the events our robots have been hired for? Click here.

Famous robots
“The word ‘robot’ was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek but it was Karel’s brother Josef Čapek who was the word’s true inventor” (Wikipedia).
Fast forward to modern times and robots of amazing variety appear all over the media. Some of the most famous include R2-D2 and C-3PO of Star Wars fame, The Terminator and Daleks in Dr Who. Who are your favourite robots? We’d love to discuss them with you. Connect with us on (Insert social media link as appropriate here)

How do we learn more about what you are up to?
You can sign up for our email newsletter here.(Insert newsletter link) or follow us on social media.
Don’t forget:
Think Robots, Think Robots Direct!™

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Robot Student -Archive

ROBOTIC STUDENT  YEAR ONE
The term also consisted of practical sessions looking at how computers work and simple feedback of computer and robotic systems.  We had to build and understand logic gates, but the most interesting experiment was the insect robot.  We had to program a robot to do basically what we wanted it to do in terms of movement and reaction to the environment around it.  As it was our first term, the demonstrators did not really want to let us loose on all the settings of the insect.  We used a program called Pspice to first simulate the settings we had put into the chip before plugging the chip into the robot.  The chip is programmed in delphi but it is then put through another program that changes the code to assembly language, a sort of interpreter.
My timetable is fairly busy as I am in everyday, with at least three lectures. Thursdays are the busiest where I am in from 9am to 4pm.  These will all be back to back lectures with an hours break in between, so you have to be fairly dedicated if you wish to do the course.
Every Monday we have a practical lab where you put all you have learnt that week to practice.  The lab could be anything from writing a program from the programming module to dealing with logic gates.  There are post graduates in the room to ask questions to but you should be able to do the lab as it would be specific to what you would have been taught the week before.  All would be specific to what you would have been taught the week before.  All the labs add up to about 15% of your final grade.  You need 40% to pass the first year so doing well in these could mean you can kind of lay back in the exam.
In the first year of Computer Science and Cybernetics you have six compulsory modules.  Four are mainly concerned with the computer science part and the other two are cybernetics related.  The computer sciences one’s comprise of a maths module, computer and internet technologies module, software engineering module and a programming module.  The cybernetics ones are electronic circuits and cybernetics itself.
Talking about the modules individually, some are fairly straight forward but others need hours of work for you to just grasp the concept.  I would say electronic circuits and cybernetics are the most challenging modules.  They mainly deal with physics and biology.  The maths module can be tricky if you did not do A Level maths as most concepts come from the ideas and basics of A Level maths.  The university changes their programming language every couple of years.  My year is the first to start off learning in C and C++ in the first year.  They do not teach the language specifically but they teach you about different languages and how you can adapt to different programming languages, so if you past experience in C programming you do have an upper hand but later on during the course we are introduced to other programming languages such as Delphi.  Out of all the modules, software engineering and computer and internet technologies are the most straight forward.  They teach more or less what we laready know about the internet, internet connections and the many acronyms and computer jargon.
There is one big software engineering project in the first year where you have to make a board game.  This is the biggest piece of coursework you would have to do in the first year.  There are also some other small ones for the other modules, but there are different bigger ones each year.
This being the first term, all the lectures keep telling us how much harder the course gets.  But i must say for the first term you would want to learn everything first time round because unlike being in school, lecturers are there for the hour of the lecture and they have to go to their next one so doing your own work and revision is a must.
Overall the term was quite laid back and not too much was piled on us although next term will be a lot more harder and a lot more busier.

ROBOTIC STUDENT  YEAR ONE Cont
Summer term was fairly quiet. We were all too busy either revising or doing exams. There
were only revision lectures and these were only for the first two weeks of term,the rest
was up to us which is a lot harder than it sounds. My exams went on for about three weeks.
This is probably the toughest three weeks i’ve had all year !I have to admit that there is a big jump
from A levels exams to University ones. The content of your answer is completely different.
For the rest of the term we had a few wiring courses, that we had to take for the insect robot
we will make in the latter part of the course in the second year.
Below are a few pictures of the vera board that i had to solder and make a binary counter
which simply had L.E.Ds that were the binary equivalent of numbers that were chosen by
a switch.

robot courses

ROBOTIC STUDENT  YEAR TWO
This term I have 8 modules to do. Neural computation, control and measurement, signals, further computer systems, databases, GUI and web design,digital circuit design, engineering applications and algorithms.

All these modules are extremely demanding and I am not over exaggerating. This term we had 6 modules throughout. Each of these modules has its own course work and depending on whether the module is 10 or 20 credits, it can run for one term or two respectively. The timetable is slightly less hectic as compared to the first year, but this is only to accommodate for the amount of time you spend out of lectures. By saying this you will probably be in the library, in a lab doing practical work, meeting up with a lecturer or class mates or doing all three at the same time!

Neural computation is a tricky module. This module has a piece of course work where you have to program or simulate a neural network in C++. You are given hints and tips as to how the network should work but the rest is up to you. As you can imagine trying to teach your own program to work is not the easiest thing. You firstly have to make sense of your own program before it can learn.  The other parts of the module are all biology and understanding the brain and how neurons work within the brain and nervous system. GUI and web design is possibly my favourite module because it is the simplest one. For course work we had make a website for an animal charity. This meant we had to sort out our own clients and find out of they actually wanted a website, if not we just made a website for an animal charity anyway.

Digital circuit design is an extension from the computer and internet technologies module we did in the first year. It looks a lot at, programmable logic. From how the actual gate works to how it interacts with the drivers that work in the actual programming language. We also look at analogue and digital converters, how they work, how they are built and designed and of course their implementation. Signals is literally a module about the analysis of binary signals. it could be a signal going down a telephone line, we looked at how you calculate its bandwidth, how the signal is being generated and all the other implications involved in signal generation and transmission.

Control and measurement is a very hard module, by far the hardest module in the whole degree. I have to say even the lecturer warns you that 90% of the students will not understand it and by that he is right. Very complicated as it looks at how systems work and respond to inputs. This module has a horrible piece of coursework where you to model various systems using the techniques taught in first year engineering maths, cybernetics and it application. So referring to first year notes and understanding is key.

The last of the modules we did this term was engineering applications where we learnt about printed circuit boards, how to make them, how they work, about bad circuit practice and much more (there is also an exam at the end of term). This is all in preparation for the mobile insect robot we will be building next term.

As you can see with all the coursework and exam at the end its all a lot to take in But I have to admit, you do feel a sense of accomplishment after all the work is done. Unfortunately I have no pictures this term. I have time to rest over Christmas and next term we start again.

Spring term 2008

This term has probably been the longest term I have had at university even though date wise, it was the shortest. We have had a lot to do this term, finishing off assignments from last term and of course being given new ones when you finish the old ones!

January was all about getting to grips with all you learnt from the term before. Once again the modules were building on the ones you learnt in the first year and looking closely and in more depth in each of the topics. Beginning of last term, we were given a website building assignment, where we had to make a website from scratch for a charity organisation. That was literally the specification we were given for the course work. We had to look for a client ourselves, liaise with them and agree on the design, development and launching of the website. We were a group of four and we evenly distributed the tasks. We all had to do a bit of development on the website and communicating with the client. We had about three months to do this. It seemed an easy task at first and we all thought it could be done in about two weeks! But were we wrong. The client kept changing their minds on the look, feel and purpose of the site, weekly deadlines were being missed due to our timetable and the client’s timetable, there was travelling and lectures to balance. We probably made about five different fully functioning websites before the final one was launched. We were learning about web development in lectures as we went on during the term, so we had to try look professional but learn new things each day. Then more assignments from other modules started coming on and before we knew it we were 4 weeks behind schedule!

In the end we did roll out the website and the client was happy. Last report we had was that the site was attracting more than triple the number of hits they had in a single day, so it was a very effective site.

I must say however the highlight of this term was the building of the mobile robot. Each student doing cybernetics is given a project every year and we had to build a mobile robot that had three wheels and could learn or do clever things. The brief we were given was a datasheet of the programmable PIC we were using and printed circuit board. We then had to put the resistors, capacitors and rest of components on the board, which was the about 2×3 inches. So the components were very small and we had to use the right ones plus a magnifying glass to make sure they were in the correct place.

The time limit was about 6 weeks to build test and program the robot. I added sonar’s and a receiver to my robot. This made it follow objects or avoid them according to how I was going to program it. The programming was done in C and directly programmed to the PIC chip via an RS232 port. All this was determined by us, any help was limited as they expected you to learn and use what you know. We then had to demonstrate the robot at the end of the term.

This is more the cybernetics side; the computer science side of this term was on algorithms and databases. We had to learn about algorithms how they work and why we use them, we also had coursework on this where we had to write special sorting and finding algorithms. It might sound easy but it is far from it. I would say this was one of the hardest modules I have had to do yet. The database coursework was about implementing and rolling out of a working live database. I wrote the database in ORACLE. I would not say it fairly hard but it did have a few challenging tasks but overall it was a fairly good and interesting piece of course work. Probably the one I was most confident in doing.

All these projects require reports. These reports are large well documented reports of what happened when and where. The technical issues, analysis and evaluation. A lot of care has to be taken as the reports are about 40% of the overall grade in the entire assignment. So time management is absolutely crucial. You learn about time management and being behind schedule is one of the worst things ever as these assignments are worth a big chunk of your overall grade. Most pieces of coursework are worth 40% of the module and in this year, and the pass mark is 30%. So by getting 100% in your module you can walk in the exam knowing you have passed already! It sounds good when you see the figures and you think it is feasible, but well and truly you will have the pressure of the multiple assignments, glitches while these assignments are happening. In group assignments there are people that do not pull their weight and conflicts with each other in ideas. Reports that need to be written, practical exercises every Tuesday, which require at least a day or two of background reading just to understand what you are meant to do. Before you know it, it’s the end of term and you have not even started your revision for exams! So it is not that easy at all.

It has been an enjoyable but frustrating term. I would say by last two weeks’ attendance in lectures was less than forty percent. People were tired, worn out and just needed a break from sleepless nights due to multiple deadlines and tasks.

Summer blog 2008

The final term this year was far much stressful than the autumn term, I never thought I would say that about any other term. There was not much going on in the term apart from the exams and trying to sort out our final year projects.

When the term started we thought it would be much more relaxed as we only had to worry about exams. The only problem with that was, the exams were a very big problem. We had a few revision lectures which really put the exams in perspective. They really do test your knowledge from the whole year, then you have the lecturers who are slightly horrible and decide to mix content from both the first and second year.

Summer term is very short, so the library is full day and night. I was revising for about 6 weeks non stop to cover the content. I had quite a few sleepless nights as half the exams are maths based and the other half test your knowledge of electronics and biology. Once exams were over we really did feel we deserved a break as they took everything out of you.

In the latter part of the term we then had to pick our final year project. The process was quite long and tedious. You are given a booklet, depending on your course, which has a listing of about 300 hundred projects, you read through each one and obviously make a choice as to which project you would like to do. The Computer Science and Cybernetics course allows you to do projects from any of the two departments. The projects range from writing programs that interface with the brain, to an autonomous robot that can balance on a ball. So there is a wide range. However, you do have the choice of coming up with your own project which obviously has to be approved by the department and a board of lecturers.

I decided to come up with my own project. I will be making an apparatus that helps with post stroke rehabilitation. This will be in the form of an exoskeleton, which will be attached to the non-functioning limb. I am focusing on the upper limb, the arm. It is a mixture of biology, physics, electronics and computer programming, which is essentially what cybernetics, is. My project was approved and I am in the process of making initial designs for testing.

I did manage to pass my exams first time round, but weighing my options and looking at the amount of work and intensity of the year, I have down graded my course to the Computer Science and Cybernetics Bsc, not the Meng. The workload for the Meng is truly for someone who can with stand it and it is very time demanding. I believe there are only about 4 people doing Meng part of my course. Most people changed to a Bsc or dropped out.

This will be my final year and I am looking forward to the end of it.