The two young engineers behind 'Robot Roy' are appealing for support from manufacturers to help them achieve their dream of attending the Vex Robotics World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, next month.
Nine-year-old Emily Duffy and her eight-year-old friend Beth Thomas from Welwyn Garden City, who call themselves WGC Microbots (Twitter: @wgcmicrobots), qualified for the world finals by winning through seven regional and national heats. Now they want to take their 15-inch high creation Robot Roy to worldwide stardom.
The problem is they need £5,000 to get them and their families to the USA and to pay the competition fee. They have set up a crowdfunding site on Just Giving.
Nick Hussey, CEO of the Hennik Group, publishers of The Manufacturer, said, “What a wonderful example these two young girls and their families are to schoolchildren everywhere. This is real engineering in action and we are right behind their attempt to win a world title.”
Hussey got the ball rolling by chipping in £250, and appealed for members of the manufacturing community to join in.
“I know this community will be tremendously proud of these two young girls, because they embody the spirit and the ingenuity the country needs going forward. Let’s all get behind them,” he added.
Emily’s dad Andrew told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Emily and Beth will be the youngest competitors there by some way but it is a fantastic opportunity to expose them to this new and emerging technology. We don’t have a lot for time to raise the sponsorship but this is a good cause for these two young ladies.
“The tournaments consist of skills challenges which involve manually operating the robot in a grid area, as well as automatically programming it so it picks up three, three-inch balls, shooting them into a scoring zone, as well as manoeuvring up a ramp in a timed challenge.” Andrew, who is head of design and technology at Henrietta Barnett School, added: “It is a fantastic advertisement for girls in engineering. It has given them a good grounding in science, technology and maths.”
Beth’s mum Michelle added: “Both girls are enjoying doing this project and are delighted at how much they have achieved in a short time. The contest itself is also aimed at encouraging youngsters, particularly girls, to perhaps look at a career in engineering in later life. There is no reason why girls as young as this cannot do this and obviously we are all proud of both girls.”
Emily said: “I am very excited and keeping my fingers crossed that Roy will do well at the contest. We still have a lot of practising to do.”
Beth added: “I could not believe we will be going to America with Roy and we shall be making sure he is at his best for the contest.”