Date of release: Friday, September 29, 2017

Robot WarsA Medway primary school is celebrating after taking the top trophy in the University of Greenwich design-a-robot competition.

Hempstead Junior School in Gillingham, was among 21 schools, selected by the university from a field of more than 900 entries from across the south east, to build their own robot and put them through their paces in the Extreme Robots Live show arena.

The grand finale, staged on Sunday, saw the Gillingham youngsters' robot reign supreme, beating off fierce competition from seven schools – Gravesend Grammar School; Holcombe Grammar School, Chatham; Strood Academy; Rainham Mark Grammar School, Rainham; Sevenoaks Preparatory School; Featherby Junior School, Gillingham; and Cliffe Woods Primary School, Rochester,

Robot fever gripped the university's campus at Medway for four days. There were special robot shows and battle heats for schools as well as public performances of the Extreme Robots Live show. Popular robots from the BBC2 Robot Wars television series also made an appearance.

The university showcased its own robot – Trolley Rage – which took part in the television show in April. It was designed to demonstrate how cheaply a fighting robot can be built taking advantage of recycled motors, shopping trolleys and scrap metal.

Additionally, the university unveiled its latest robotic creation – General d'Meaner – built with materials made available by Gillingham's Royal Engineers and parts imported from Greece, China and the US. It is hoped this robot will also compete in the TV series.

"It was four days of tremendous fun and dramatic battles in the arena," says Professor Simeon Keates, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor at the Faculty of Engineering and Science.

"This year we increased the size of the schools' robots to 13kg which was a great success. Now we are looking forward to receiving entries from schools for our 2018 design-a-robot competition.

"Staff from our Faculty of Engineering & Science will work with the winning schools to help them develop their design and prepare to battle it out for victory in the show arena."

Each school selected is allocated a budget of £400 and all the electronic kit required to build their design of combat robots.

Professor Keates is on a mission to inspire more primary and secondary school pupils to consider careers in engineering.

He says: "There are more than 55,000 unfilled engineering jobs in the UK and this is set to increase dramatically with advances in Artificial Intelligence, new generation robotic design and the great advances being made in battery capacity."

To find out more about the schools' 2018 design-a-robot competition email: L.Wilson@greenwich.ac.uk.

Discover more about engineering at the University of Greenwich at http://www.gre.ac.uk/engsci

Story by Public Relations

Picture: The winning team from Hempstead Junior School.