“Remarkable achievements” by QE’s roboteers

QE’s new robotics club has scooped prizes and set records at two separate competitive events.

Two QE teams – HYBRID and Gearsquad – successfully took on 29 other teams at the North London VEX IQ Challenge regional round at The Henrietta Barnett School and then just a few days later achieved similar success at the Central London round hosted by the City of London School for Girls.

VEX IQ is a snap-together robotics system which young people can use without tools. Designed to help pupils with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), VEX IQ is a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 10,000 teams from 32 countries competing in over 750 tournaments. The School’s VEX club draws boys from Years 8 & 9.

""At Henrietta Barnett, HYBRID not only took the Judges’ Award but also set a new UK record in the Teamwork Challenge, working collaboratively with a team from the host school. The two QE teams also made excellent presentations to Imperial College’s Jess Wade on their STEM research project and robotic design booklets, which involved investigating the potential uses of robotic technology in society. Dr Wade, whose Physics PhD looked at microstructure control and the characterisation of organic semiconductors, won the 2016 Jocelyn Burnell Award for her outstanding research and the work she does in encouraging others to study Physics. She commended both QE teams on their excellent presentations, lauding the boys for their very passionate delivery.

""And there was no resting on their laurels for the School’s roboteers: just days later at the Central London VEX IQ regional round, hosted by City of London School for Girls, Gearsquad set a new record Robot Skills Challenge of 90 points. They then saw this record broken again by HYBRID, who amassed 100 points, thus making the two QE teams the top-ranked teams in this element of the competition in the UK. A few hours later, Gearsquad and HYBRID worked together in the Teamwork Challenge and matched the score set previously by HYBRID and their Henrietta Barnett partners. HYBRID and Gearsquad are therefore ranked joint-first in the country with their score of 65.

The QE boys are now looking forward to competing in the National Championships at Birmingham’s NEC in March and hope to qualify for the world championships.

""Scheme leader and Head of Technology Michael Noonan said: “These are quite remarkable achievements considering this is the first year that VEX robotics of any kind have been attempted at the School.  I am very proud of these boys’ performance; they have committed to countless lunchtime and after-school sessions to building, practising and perfecting their robots, and have reaped the rewards of that. They are now determined to bring that level of excellence to the national stage.”

""The current VEX IQ Challenge tournaments are entitled Crossover, which is played on a 4ft x 8ft rectangular area and requires robots to achieve various tasks, such as placing balls in a scoring zone and parking robots on a bridge. The tournament comprise a number of elements:

  • Standard matches: two alliances, each consisting of two teams, play against each other.
  • Robot Skills Challenge: one robot and one driver playing alone against the clock
  • Programming Skills Challenge: one robot using sensors to run autonomously.

""Gearsquad members are: Sunay Challa (Year 9), Deshraam Ganeshamoorthy (Year 9), Romansh Gupta (Year 8), Siddh Patel (Year 8), Dillan Shah (Year 8) and Ukendar Vadivel (Year 9). HYBRID, which is the second QE team, has: Rohan Battula (Year 8), Piraveen Ithayarasa (Year 9), Nirmay Jadhav (Year 8), Lucas Lu (Year 8), Daniel Radzik-Rahman (Year 9) and James Tan (Year 9).

Mr Noonan and Chemistry teacher Katie Paske worked with the boys, assisted by Biology teacher Emma Pearl.