The nation’s schools, colleges and universities are being invited to celebrate innovation in the UK’s robotics industry at first UK Robotics Week (25th June – 1st July 2016)
The focus of this week-long series of events and activities is to shine a spotlight on the UK’s technology leadership in robotics and autonomous systems and to engage the nation’s schools, colleges and universities in developing the digital skills needed to drive the UK’s future economy.
With the global market for service and industrial robots expected to reach $59.5 billion by 2020, the UK government has identified robotics as one of the 8 Great Technologies central to the future growth of the UK economy. The initiative is being coordinated by the EPSRC UK-RAS network and partner universities.
The cornerstone of the initiative is a School Robot Challenge, an exciting new national competition centred on bioinspired robots. Children will be invited to submit robotics-inspired essays or artwork, and to design their own robotic bug. Every school in the UK will be provided with an information pack and lesson plans for all age ranges, plus access to a free design repository to help students to create and even manufacture their own 3D printed robotic bug. The competition will use hardware and equipment already in schools and include the optional use of low-cost 3D printers and robotics kits.
Commenting on the launch, the UK government’s Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “From driverless cars to tiny surgical robots, there is an array of exciting possibilities in robotics that can improve our lives. It’s critical that we inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to help develop these new technologies. I strongly encourage schools across the country to get involved in this robot design challenge as part of the first ever UK Robotics Week.”
The School Robot Challenge is designed to develop children’s interest and skills in a range of subjects, including digital skills, science, technology, engineering and biology, and is open to all schoolchildren aged 4 -17 years old. The competition will be designed to engage both girls and boys with STEM subjects.
In addition to the School Robot Challenge, UK Robotics Week will include the finals of a series of international academic challenges in which leading robotic research groups from around the world will come to the UK to demonstrate the very latest robotic technology, including:
Surgical Robot Challenge 2016
Field Robotics Challenge 2016
Autonomous Driving Challenge 2016
UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Challenge 2016
UK Robotics Week is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Royal Academy of Engineering, IET, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.