The 2018 National Schools and Colleges Micromouse competition took place on Saturday 9th June hosted by Birmingham City University as part of the TechFest event. We were as ever provided with excellent facilities at Millennium Point on the BCU City Centre Campus.
There were fewer entrants for the Schools competition this year with several regularly attending teams unable to make it. The quality of the robots was by no means diminished though and, as we have come to expect, the focus and will-to-win of the students was admirable. Regular entrants Wycombe Warriors, Wycombe High School Buckinghamshire, and King Edward VI School Stratford were again represented. New to the competition this year were the Beaconsfield High School who entered a team of three students and Holy Redeemer Catholic Primary School Pershore represented by Max Bailiss, the youngest and only primary school aged entrant.
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.
Drag Race: In the drag race event the mouse has to follow a straight line for approximately 7 metres travelling as fast as possible and must stop before reaching the end of the track.
Wall Follower: 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 a target square.
Some teams opted to have one mouse for all three events, changing sensors and wheels to reconfigure the mouse for each event. Other teams made mice dedicated to a particular event. Unusually, this year the multi-event mice were the most successful.
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 29 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 Beaconsfield High School who won both the line follower and the drag race event. They started work on constructing their mice in February this year in an after-school club run by a pair of inspirational teachers Ian Buxton and Helen Manners. Ian and Helen both attended and competed successfully in the senior micromouse competitions with their own self-built mice.
Grateful thanks are due to chief judge Duncan Louttit who ran the Schools events with military precision 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 Chris Evans and the BCU team and Ian Butterworth for providing us with such excellent facilities and ensuring that first class tracks and mazes were available on the day.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
Lightest Mouse: 95.08g, “Mozzarella”, Kaviyashree Damodaran, Beaconfield High School, Bucks
Judges’ Award 1: Max Bailiss, Holy Redeemer Catholic Primary School, Pershore
Max brought along his Lego robot “Max Mega”. There have been previous attempts to run a Lego-based robot in the Schools competition but Max was the first to successfully compete in both the line follower and the drag race with his versatile entry.
Judges’ Award 2: William Nash, Wycombe Warriors
William had a potentially fast mouse which was running well at home but was beset by technical difficulties on the day of the competition. The judges felt that he should be rewarded for his efforts in striving to resolve them.
Judges’ Award 3: Alex and Toby, Wycombe Warriors
The Judges were impressed that Alex and Toby jointly entered a maze-solver mouse of their own design. This is very rarely attempted by juniors. It was not quite ready to compete but is on course to find the centre of the maze in next year’s competition if they continue to make progress at their present rate.
1st Place: “Chaos”, Catherine McPhillips, Wycombe High School. (18.60 seconds)
2nd Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High School. (18.62 seconds).
3rd Place: “Mozzarella”, Kaviyashree Damodaran, Beaconsfield High School. (18.69 seconds)
1st Place: “Mozzarella”, Kaviyashree Damodaran, Beaconsfield High School.
2nd Place: “Athena”, Amber Bravo-Faraday, Beaconsfield High School.
3rd Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High School.
Fastest recorded drag race time: 2.293 seconds by Mozzarella.
1st Place: “Athena”, Amber Bravo-Faraday, Beaconsfield High School. (10.752 seconds)
2nd Place: “Chaos”, Catherine McPhillips, Wycombe High School. (11.226 seconds)
3rd Place: “Scrabble”, Thanishka Singanan, Wycombe High School. (11.444 seconds)