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Top result for rugby robot creators


By SPP Reporter


Wick High pupils Erin MacGregor and Maja Pearson with their winning robot are flankled by science presenter Maggie Philbin (left) and head judge Anita Chandraker.
Wick High pupils Erin MacGregor and Maja Pearson with their winning robot are flankled by science presenter Maggie Philbin (left) and head judge Anita Chandraker.

RUGBY enthusiasts who converted their idea to improve the spectator experience of the game by developing a unique robot have been lauded as among the best young coders and innovators in the country.

Wick High School pupils Erin MacGregor and Maja Pearson successfully try-ed to win the National Raspberry Pi coding competition when they tackled problems head on and presented their concept to some of the industry’s leading experts.

The second year pupils created a robot called Quancobot which was designed to make watching more fun.

The robot, which can be controlled by a mobile device, has a camera fitted that streams live video footage and can be driven onto the pitch to provide pitchside rugby fans with a unique view of a conversion.

The winners were up against two other teams in the First to Fourth year category and presented their inventions to a judging panel which included BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Judges felt that the team had incredible enthusiasm and demonstrated great teamwork when explaining their project to the judges. The team worked hard to find a creative solution to making the game more engaging for spectators.

Wick High computing science principal Chris Aitken said the duo’s national success was a culmination of hard work over the last 12 months.

He said: “They have used the skills they learned from building a weather station during an after school project and applied them for the purpose of this competition.

“They worked after school to develop the Quancobot, which was named after the first type of rugby ball invented.

“Erin also plays rugby for Caithness and they wanted to look at how they could introduce robotics into rugby to improve watching the game for fans.”

Mr Aitken adds: “They wanted to come up with a robot which would allow spectators to see a conversion from a different angle and offer choice to the audience.

“It is unbelievable something like that was developed by two second year students and shows the power of the internet and code.”

The competition challenged schools to use a Raspberry Pi computer to drive innovation in sport and leisure. PA Consulting Group launched the competition in 2012 in response to a fall in programming skills and asa mechanism to tackle the growing talent gap in programming and coding.

The Raspberry Pi was selected because it is a low-cost computer and was aimed at promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools and stimulating interest in the IT industry.

Erin and Maja each received £500 for winning the national competition. They are the latest of a run of Wick High pupils to achieve national success in digital development.



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