Bristol’s pioneering robot project to offer glimpse of tomorrow’s world

November 15, 2013

Young people will get the chance to be creative with computers tomorrow at an event in Bristol aimed at combating the skills shortage in electrical and electronic engineering and computer science.

Students from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering have collaborated with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and At-Bristol to stage DigiMakers.

With the theme of robotics, attendees at the event will get the chance to take part in hands-on workshops and see some of the cutting-edge technology used at the Bristol Robotics Lab.

The workshops will use a range of technologies including Raspberry Pi’s Arduino and Lego Mindstorm, alongside programming workshops. The event, which takes place in At Bristol, is free and aimed at anyone from beginner to intermediate level. Anyone interested can sign-up to one of the workshops on Eventbrite.

Chair of BCS and the West of England LEP’s hi-tech sector group Mike Bartley said: “For far too long computing has been equated with IT which turns a lot of children away. Our next event will encourage under-18s to get creative with computers by building robots. Hopefully they will have fun and get to see a whole new side of the subject.

“But as chair of the hi-tech sector group and the BCS I have another objective here. The area has a huge number of local companies crying out for these skills and they pay good salaries. We need to create a pipeline of talent for both our current employers and for those looking to locate here. Our own local Silicon Valley or Silicon Gorge, if you will.”

Dean of Faculty of Engineering Professor Nishan Canagarajah added: “The Government’s proposed changes to the computer science curriculum shows the national importance of the skills shortage but there is still much work to be done to inspire young people and engage teachers. 

“Informal events, like the DigiMakers, play an important role in educating children in subjects such as electronics, computer science, digital media and engineering. With over 230 parents, children and teachers attending each event, it is clear there is a huge demand for this type of activity.” 

The event aims to provide fun hands-on workshops as well as allowing experts to share ideas with others.

More than 850 people from around the region have attended previous events, which took place at the Science learning centre, At-Bristol in April, June and September.

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