Schools Micromouse at Techfest 2019

By | June 2, 2019

On Saturday 1st June the 2019 National Schools and Colleges Micromouse Competition was held by the UKMARS organisation and hosted by Birmingham City University as part of the annual City Centre Campus TechFest event.

As usual three events were run: The Drag Race – a 6 metre sprint following a white line; the Line Follower – a circuit of straights and curves of varying radii, again following a white line and the Wall Follower – finding a route from the start cell to a target cell in a maze by following the left-hand wall.

A total of 20 mice were entered.  Many of them were capable of, with a change of sensors and wheels, competing in all three events. There were kit mice and scratch built mice on show.  The lightest weighed 97 grams and the heaviest 330 grams.

New to the competition this year were Kesgrave High School, Ipswich who had been working on their designs since October 2018.  They are an after-school club formed by retired teachers Simon Clapson and John Fisher, both stalwarts of Micromouse who previously enjoyed great success in this competition with their former school.  Schools are desperately keen to get STEM ambassadors to run robotics clubs but are generally very inflexible regarding using school computers to run suitable programming software. John and Simon were very limited in the choice of microprocessor for their students’ robots and had to abandon their tried and tested Picaxe programs, eventually settling for Crumble, an icon based software system similar to Scratch.

Several clubs and schools from Buckinghamshire were again represented and there was one entry from a primary school pupil, Maxwell Bayliss from Pershore Junior.  Unusually there were four entrants who were veterans of the 2018 competition making a return appearance: Kaviyashree Damodaran, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Lahari Ballina and Bethan Edwards.

Bethan Edwards was the stand-out performer on the day.  Her mouse “Jerry” came first in the Line Follower (beating her brother Owain into second place by 0.05 seconds), second in the Wall Follower and third in the Drag Race.

Medals were on offer for any competitor who completed a successful timed run in each of the three events.  There were also trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed mice in each event.  Grateful thanks are due to Duncan Louttit of Swallow Systems who donated all the Schools awards and was Chief Judge on the day.  Thanks are also due to Chris Evans and the BCU team and Ian Butterworth, Chairman of UKMARS for providing us with excellent facilities.  Last, but by no means least, we would like to thank the parents and teachers who supported the competitors and saw their charges fully focused and highly competitive perhaps for the first time.

Summary of Results

Lightest Mouse:  97.12g “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors.

Best Recorded Mouse: “Thanos”, Lekha Ballina, Wycombe High School.

Judges Award: “Wally”, Kyle Baker, Kesgrave High School, Ipswich.

Kyle wrote the program for his mouse in just three after school sessions.  His entry completed the wall follower event successfully – an outstanding achievement.

DRAG RACE

1st Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High. (2.304s)

2nd Place: “Mozzarella”, Kaviyashree Damodaran, Beaconsfield High. (2.419s)

3rd Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (2.462s)

LINE FOLLOWER

1st Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (10.411s)

2nd Place: “Idea”, Owain Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (10.461s)

3rd Place: “Sivan”, Nathesa Sivakumaran, Beaconsfield High. (10.798s)

WALL FOLLOWER

1st Place: “Human Being”, Abigail Robinson, Wycombe High School. (34.06s)

2nd Place: “Jerry”, Bethan Edwards, Wycombe Warriors. (34.50s)

3rd Place: “Maze Finder”, Maanya Shankar, Wycombe High School. (34.85s)

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