Robots meet rugby in UCD engineering competition


18 Apr 2011

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It was all about the robots today at University College Dublin (UCD)as first-year engineering students demonstrated the ‘Rugby Robots’ they had created in advance of the Siemens RoboRugby Competition final which takes place this evening on campus.

This competition is designed to develop the engineering students’ creativity and problem-solving skills, which are essential to professional engineers.

“Engineers are innovators who create new technologies that can help rebuild the Irish economy in fields as diverse as healthcare to renewable energy,” said Michael O’Connor, corporate communications manager, Siemens Limited.

“Siemens has been a keen sponsor of the RoboRugby competition at UCD for six years. The sponsorship enables us to play our part in providing a platform for students to develop their creative and problem-solving skills. The development of a smart economy is critically dependent on the supply of qualified and skilled science and technology graduates,” he added.

Brian Mulkeen, UCD School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, said: “Engineering involves creative thinking and innovation but our incoming students often seem to think that every question has only one right answer. The Siemens RoboRugby Competition motivates the students to start thinking inventively and independently while working on a problem with many possible solutions.”

In RoboRugby, each team starts with a standard set of parts, which means the winning design is entirely the result of the ingenuity and problem-solving skills of the team. The game is played by autonomous robots and the aim is to score points by moving balls into scoring areas on a 2.4m playing table, while also trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring.