The Manufacturer helps young engineers compete at global robot event

The Manufacturer is proud to have supported the two young engineers behind ‘Robot Roy’, who have returned from the US after competing in the Vex Robotics World Championships.

Robot Roy - Emily Duffy and Beth Thomas, from Welwyn Garden City, are to represent the UK in a World Championship Robotics final in the USA next month. Photo Credit Peter Simpson
Emily Duffy and Beth Thomas, from Welwyn Garden City, represented the UK in the Vex Robotics World Championship final – Photo Credit Peter Simpson

Friends, Emily Duffy and Beth Thomas have just returned after achieving their dream of attending the Vex Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

At just nine and eight-years-old, the pair were one of the youngest teams competing, matching their skills against 500 other teams from around the world.

Hailing from Welwyn Garden City and calling themselves WGC Microbots, Emily and Beth qualified for the world finals after winning seven regional and national heats with their 15-inch high creation, Robot Roy.

In total, they won trophies at all four regional events – two Skills Champions Award, a Create/Design Award and a Judges’ Award. Judges commented on Roy’s highly creative design that incorporates solid mechanical ability, its unique design solutions and the resulting innovative approaches to the competition tasks.

One of the awards was presented by the University of Middlesex’s Professor Karamanoglu, who praised the pair’s drive, determination and creativity, traits that he said were extraordinary to find in people their ages.

Designed and built from scratch, Roy was tasked with picking up and stacking three-inch balls and manoeuvring up and over a ramp in less than 60 seconds. Other skills challenges included manually operating the robot in a grid area, and shooting the balls into a scoring zone.

The pair launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £5,000 needed to get them, their robot and their families to the US and compete in the world finals. The Manufacturer donated £250 and appealed for members of the manufacturing community to join in.

Innovate UK also matched fund raising as part of its ‘Women in Innovation’ programme, offering a £2,500 grant and halving the amount the team needed to raise.

CEO of the Hennik Group, publishers of The Manufacturer, Nick Hussey said: “What a wonderful example these two young girls and their families are to schoolchildren everywhere. This is real engineering in action.”

For the future, the young engineers are expecting to set Roy to one-side and progress onto designing and building a new robot capable of picking up and positioning hoops.