School Duel


Pi-noon popping fun with R2D2 bot

This week we had a Haberdashers Federation day of Pi-Wars themed challenges.  The venue was at Abraham Darby Academy in Telford. We had 7 teams (14 pupils) come over from Adams’ Grammar to battle it out. In total we had 10 teams Pi-noon’ing or obstacle racing to build points, and try out the robot designs.  In addition to this chance to try out robots that have been constructed over the past 3 months; we used it as an opportunity to pick the team(s) that will go to Pi-Wars on April 1st.

Thanks go to the following for helping to set up & run the day

  • DT staff at Abraham Darby Academy (Louise, Linda, James and Anna)
  • DT & Computing staff at Adams Grammar
  • Mrs Jo Edgar (ADA) & Dr Peter Pack (AGS)
  • Staff from Cap Gemini – Aarti, Robert
  • Ernie our STEM Ambassador and general robot expert
  • All Haberdasher robot club roboteers who put the effort in to make the day a success

The most fun was had when we set up a Battle Royale challenge for Pi-noon. Four robots battled it out until only one (balloon) remained.

pi-noon battle Royale 

We had two big challenges set up to test (remote controlled) driving skills: Pi-noon, plus an obstacle race.

obstacle race  01

Together with points awarded for each race or battle won, extra points were awarded for: silly skins/coats/covers/faces, new chassis design, modified CAMJAM code, or other technical innovations.

Obstacle race 02 

We had some good efforts made in all of these additional categories, but, by far the best effort came from team Trak’d who had installed a lightweight (flask) server on their Pi 3, constructed a R2D2 style bot chassis. They even used a  smart phone app to drive the motors. It is an excellent design, and shows much promise for future mods.  The tight turning circle and ease of control ensured it slayed all challengers on the ongoing Pi-noon battles. They won a massive nine pi-noon challenges!

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Important lessons learned:

  • All robots were quite underpowered – even for the low ramps!
  • AA battery pack looses its charge/power relatively quickly
  • The standard design is not as agile as the R2D2 version (turning circle)
  • The battery pack for the Pi is quite heavy
  • We need to tryout 4WD for the next iteration of the design
  • Re-design new methods for attaching the wheels
  • Learn how to balance motors effectively with PWM
  • Difficulty in controlling the robots with a wifi keyboard – need to investigate other methods
  • CAMJAM keyboard script needs some mods or replacing
  • Set up SSH and Static IPs as standard on all robots – for remote access
  • More balloons for Pi noon
  • Extra challenges to test out driving skills for the next meet up
  • It’s much fun to build and drive Raspberry Pi powered  robots
  • Try out a new 4WD nanobot design for the spring/summer term




As a result of the day’s shenanigans we had the tricky job of picking the team to go to Pi-Wars. Clear winners (from all challenges set this term) from Adams Grammar were Team Hackathon. Because the results were too close to call,  I’ve decided to pick a dream team from all club attendees at Abraham Darby Academy – to make up our combined Dasher Team (new name). So we’ll have approx’ 8 pupils representing both schools (The Haberdasher s Federation) off to Cambridge on April 1st!


2 thoughts on “School Duel

  1. Awesome! Looks like everyone concerned had a great time testing ideas and prototypes! Good Luck to the Dashers – is it really April 1st or are you just ‘Fooling Around’.


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