Enthusiastic Engineering

Published on 10 June 2014 by Mrs Fiona MacFarlane Categories: Senior School

The Roboteer Team in actionLast week our pupils took part in two enjoyable technical challenges with some success.

A team of three of our Arkwright scholars, Mark Baker, Calum Watkins and Ruairidh Bennett (all S5), took part in this year’s Junior Saltire Award. The brief was to design, build and test a simple Hydrokinetic Generator. Hydrokinetic devices use the energy in flowing river streams, tidal currents or artificial water channels as a source of renewable power. The team made it through the preliminary rounds to the finals, which involved testing their design in the new state-of-the-art Flo-Wave Ocean Energy Research Facility at Edinburgh University.

This facility, built at a cost of £10m, is for testing devices in the Marine renewable industry. The nine finalists were the first ever people to test out devices in the pools, which didn’t officially open until 5 June.

Our team managed to successfully generate some electricity in the pool (against a flow rate of 0.8m/s), and presented their idea to the judges. They were awarded Highly Commended (second place) for their age group (S5– S6).

Meanwhile a team of S3s from our three Engineering Science classes – Chris Carson, Alex McKinnon, James Taylor and Lev Demyanov – entered the Roboteer Challenge at Heriot-Watt University.

Our group got off to a cracking start, winning the very first challenge – the Manoeuvrability Challenge – in the fastest time recorded in the 12 years the competition has run. They steered their robot in a relay fashion round the maze in a record-breaking time of 1 minute 11 seconds! 

Their second challenge was to modify their robot to compete in the ‘tennis’ challenge. The team were given two hours to construct a method to get all of the ping pong balls over a net.  The boys worked on three different ideas, finally settling on the original idea a flicking mechanism. This put them in the running for the Best Engineered Robot award.

Great achievements from both teams, which show great promise for the future of engineering.

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