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Engineering student wins award for London’s best robot

Andrei Petrar and his robot, Anima, triumphed in the London heats of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Design Challenge
12 April 2019

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE) Design Challenge gives first and second year undergraduates a taste of the ‘real world’ of engineering by challenging them to design, create and run a device to strict technical specifications.

This year's challenge to students was to design and make a robot that could climb and descend a two metre copper pipe as quickly as possible, on a budget of only £25.

With his robot, 'Anima', Andrei won each of his preliminary rounds and then the final, beating teams from five other London universities (Kingston, Middlesex, Brunel, Hertfordshire and UEL). Anima’s quickest time up and down the pipe was a speedy 1.75 seconds.  Speaking at the event, Ben Hodgkinson, Head of Engineering at Mercedes Formula 1, said he was 'particularly impressed with Andrei's intuitive approach to engineering and with his idea to use capacitors as a lightweight power supply'.

Andrei was supported in preparing and presenting the robot by student Jesse Anderson and joined in the competition by fellow students Will Robins, Rosie Luchford and Ted Arnold.  The first year BSc Engineering Product Design students were set the challenge by lecturer Dr Ben Lishman. Competing against Mechanical Engineering students from other universities, they gained real-industry experience and tenacity in their line of study.

Robin Jones, Head of Mechanical Engineering and Design at LSBU, hopes Andrei’s win can be a platform for more success in IMechE events. He said: “Next year's challenge will have different requirements, and Andrei and his colleagues are already planning to continue LSBU's success.

“We also have a second-year group of electrical engineers experimenting with controlled pipe climbers capable of stopping at predetermined marks on the pipe.”

Andrei will now compete in the national final at the IMechE's headquarters in October and is aiming to redesign the robot so that it completes the task in less than one second.

Blink and you’ll miss it: watch Andrei's robot win heat 1, heat 2, and the final.

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