'You're not just building a robot'

Eight Berkeley Green UTC pupils stand together in a classroom between their robot on the table
The Berkeley Green UTC pupils took home the innovation award for their robot [BBC]

Pupils from a school in Gloucestershire have said it was "brilliant" to win an award at a prestigious robotic competition.

The team of year 12 students from Berkeley Green UTC designed a robot that can pick up hexagonal shapes and place them on a board, hold itself up on a bar, and launch a paper aeroplane.

Competing against 40 other teams, they took home the innovation award for their robot at The First Tech Challenge UK in June, which was hosted by Cambridge University.

The team told the BBC they had enjoyed "the entire process" which took place over six months.

Each team member had their own part to play in the creation of the robot.

Toby said: “I think it’s been very valuable to learn all the different skills.

"You’re not just building a robot, there’s also project management, budgeting, coding and on the digital side there’s so many areas that you can learn from.

“I would definitely recommend it to any schools in the UK or the local area that are not competing to look into challenges such as the First Tech Challenge.”

Two of the Berkeley Green UTC team mates show the BBC how the robot works
The team said they enjoyed the "entire process" of making the robot [BBC]

The championship is a branch of the world's largest robotics competition based in the US.

According to the judges, Berkeley Green UTC team won the innovation award for their "creative approach".

“This award was very difficult to judge," they said.

"The winning team stood out with their creative approach to overcoming challenges on the game field.

"Their unique pixel gripper sprung them to success.”

The Berkeley Green UTC team's robot
The judges were taken with the their design of the 'pixel gripper' [BBC]

The First Tech Challenge UK combines the process of designing, building, programming and competing robots.

The aim of the championship is to promote the accessibility of STEM education and career pathways to students aged 11 to 18.

Early careers programme manager at Arm - one of the competition collaborators - Rob Leeman, said the most rewarding moment was seeing the "passion" from students.

He said: "They’ve engaged in the task, adapted to overcome and really put their heart and soul into the competition. It’s been breath-taking.”

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