ABERYSTWYTH Robotics Club, open to all years of students from Penglais and Penweddig schools, is run out of the Physical Sciences building on the university’s Penglais campus. Run by members of staff from IMAPS and assisted by student ambassadors from the university, ARC allows the students involved to try some things you don’t get to do in the classroom, such as building and programming their own robots.
Recently, on the 10th of March, ARC won an award, which they received on the 16th, for ‘the best use of their STEM Ambassadors’ . This national award was presented to the club on behalf of the STEM Clubs programme run by the national organisation STEMNET – the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network – and was voted on by thousands across the country. The club received a certificate noting their achievement, as well as a £200 voucher for club use. Both of the schools which are part of the club also received awards. STEM ambassadors are there to enthuse and encourage the members to get involved, both in the current activities and in future STEM projects and fields.
I had the chance to speak to some of the talented students in the club about the projects they were showing at the British Science Week event.
Iestyn, 13, introduced me to his robot, Joseph, which he had been working on for about a year. He had used InMoov, an open-source, 3D printed, life-size robot. Joseph has 10 wires in his hand to allow for clenching and releasing of the digits, as well as five motors in his arm to power this movement. Iestyn was also able to make Joseph’s neck move.
Owen, 14, and Seren, 14, spoke to me about Handles, a Cyberman head which Owen had bought at a car boot sale. Both boys told me how they had come up with the idea, which they then discussed and planned with the group, to program Handles to speak and react to people walking past.
Katie Hope, one of the student ambassadors, told me how much she enjoyed working with the students, and spoke highly of the staff who run ARC, naming Hannah Dee, a senior lecturer in Computer Sciences, as “one of the most inspiring females I know”, and expressed her gratitude and admiration for Stephen Fearn, a technician in the Physical Sciences building, who donated significant portions of his time and funds to allow the Robotics Club to continue.