Cork Electronics Industry Association held the final of its 9th Annual Schools Robot Competition in Devere Hall, UCC on Thursday, Feb. 7th last. The competition for 2nd year school students, was undertaken in conjunction with University College Cork (UCC), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Tyndall National Institute and the support of CEIA member companies. A key aspect of the initiative is that engineers, researchers and technologists from these institutes provide mentor support for the teams and this is an important opportunity to give the students an insight into potential careers in the industry. Cork is home to many Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies which provide challenging careers for people interested in driving technological change and this competition focuses on students who will become the engineers to grow and develop these companies. Electrical & Electronic Engineering courses are offered in Cork at UCC (CAO code CK605) and CIT (CAO codes CR061/590 and CR062/580).

Each year, the competition has a theme to highlight the many ways in which engineering and technology is embedded in our lives today. This year the theme was FireBots, and since the competition launch in October 2012, 80 students from 20 schools across Cork, Waterford & Limerick were busy figuring out how best to program their robots to navigate a maze using ultrasonic, touch and colour sensors. As well as this, the teams built an Electronic Beacon which connected up to the maze and was activated by their robot entering the ‘Alarm area’. Teams also made Posters and kept project log books to document their work.

The winners of the 2013 CEIA Schools Robot Competition were as follows:

Maze navigation winners: Glanmire Community College, mentored by Mr. David Hayden of Tyndall National Institute and teacher Mr. Dan O’Sullivan.

Maze navigation runners-up: St. Brogan’s College, Bandon, mentored by Dr. Steve Hegarty of Tyndall National Institute and teacher Mr. Michael Connern.

Electronic Beacon winners: Colaiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, mentored by Dr. Bill Wright of UCC and teacher Dr. Sian Joyce.

Poster presentation winners: Ursulines Secondary School, Blackrock, mentored by Dr. Caroline Lai of Tyndall National Institute and teacher Mr. Bernard Carr.