The 2017 National Schools and Colleges Micromouse competition took place on Saturday 24th June hosted by Birmingham City University as part of the TechFest event. We were once again provided with excellent facilities in the Curzon building on the BCU City Centre Campus.
For the second year running new record number of entrants was established with 33 mice registered, beating the 29 recorded in 2016. Regular entrants Claires Court School Maidenhead, King Edward VI School Stratford, Tendring Technology College Frinton, Wycombe High School Buckinghamshire and Wycombe Warriors all entered teams again this year. New to the competition this year were the Wycombe Colts. This is a club for young robot-building enthusiasts who come from different schools in the Wycombe area. We also welcomed the Probyn family, debuting in the line follower event.
The competition consisted of three separate events: The Line Follower, The Drag Race and The Wall Follower.
In the line follower event the robotic mouse has to follow a 19mm wide white line on a black background around a circuit. It has to negotiate curves as tight as 150mm radius, long straights and crossovers. The winner is the mouse that completes the course in the fastest time.
In the drag race event the mouse has to follow a straight line for approximately 7 metres as fast as possible and must stop before reaching the end of the track.
In the wall follower event the mouse is run in a maze and has to follow the left hand wall to successfully negotiate a path to the centre square.
Some teams use one mouse for all three events, changing sensors and wheels to reconfigure the mouse each time. Other teams make mice dedicated to line following to compete in the line follower and drag events and completely separate mice to tackle the technically more challenging maze event.
Medals were presented to the owner of any mouse that successfully completed the course in each of the events. A number of competitors collected the maximum of three medals and a total of 59 medals were presented on the day. In addition, trophies were awarded to the owners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed mice each event.
The best performing team this year were Tendring Technology College who, between them, took first place in all three events. Tendring have improved their mice year on year and have shown the other teams that the best way to excel at micromouse is to have a policy of continuous improvement with some mice specialised for line following and others specialised for the maze-based event
Innovations this year included the first appearance of competitive six-wheel mice in the schools micromouse competition. Two examples were entered, Advent2 by Mikolaj Lenczewski and Repiv by Lasen Wanni-Arachenige – both of the Wycombe Warriors team. Special mention must also be made of Priyam Patel who entered the Senior Maze Solving competition with his mouse Discobot which successfully negotiated the maze to the centre square. This was the first time in 17 years that a school-age entrant had achieved this.
Grateful thanks are due to chief judge Duncan Louttit who ensured all the Schools events ran smoothly and also donated the medals and trophies. Thanks are also due to staff and parents who accompanied the entrants to the competition. And finally we are indebted to Tony Wilcox, Chris Evans and the BCU team for providing us with such excellent facilities.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
Lightest Mouse: 130.58g, “Repiv”, Lasen Wanni-Arachenige, Wycombe Warriors
Judges’ Award 1: Louie Fennell, Tendring Technology College
Louie stepped in to repair and run Daryl Hindle’s mouse “Speedy Gonzales” after he fell and broke a wheel (and also dislocated his knee).
Judges’ Award 2: Hafsah Shafi, Wycombe High School
Hafsah’s mouse “The Squeak” had run well in the line following and drag events and was expected to do well in the wall follower competition but one of her motors failed as she was setting it up for the event. She was unfortunate as this is a very rare occurrence.
Judges’ Award 3: Priyam Patel, Wycombe Warriors
Priyam successfully competed in the senior maze solving event with his entry “Discobot”. He was the first school-age maze solver to do this in 17 years.
1st Place: “Speedy Gonzales”, Daryl Hindle, Technology College. (2.455 seconds)
2nd Place: “Minnie”, Abigail Guiver, Wycombe High School. (2.997 seconds)
3rd Place: “Mousterpiece”, Hannah Wagstaff, Wycombe High School. (3.105 seconds)
1st Place: “Arno”, Bailey Southern, Tendring Technology College. (11.80 seconds)
2nd Place: “Barry”, Gwon Chru, Tendring Technology College. (11.83 seconds)
3rd Place: “Advent2”, Mikolaj Lenczewski, Wycombe Warriors. (12.68 seconds)
1st Place: “Clone”, Gwon Chru, Tendring Technology College. (26.58 seconds)
2nd Place: “Roboracer”, Aaron Mussell, Claires Court. (27.43 seconds).
3rd Place: “Mousterpiece”, Hannah Wagstaff, Wycombe High School. (27.88 seconds)
Supported by Birmingham City University