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AgriFoRwArdS CDT students take part in British Science Week

University of Lincoln AgriFoRwArdS CDT students from Cohorts 1 and 3, come together to take part in the British Science Week open day event, held at the University of Lincoln, Isaac Newton Building on the 16th March.

The British Science Week open day is designed to give pre-university students, as well as the general pubic, the chance to get involved with a multitude of activities and offer an insight into the future of science and studying in higher education.

The event showcased expertise from a broad range of subject areas from within the College of Science, including the MSC in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, which current Cohort 3 students are completing as the first part of their AgriFoRwArdS CDT programme structure.

The volunteer team consisted of Cohort 3 students, Garry Clawson, Samual Carter, Xumin Gao and Nikolaos Tsagkopoulos. Alongside them were Cohort 1 students, Karoline Heiwolt, Willow Mandil and Roopika Ravikanna. MSc RAS student, Stephen Rerri-Bekibele, and Dr Soran Parsa from the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS) rounded off the group.

Team setting up equipment for the event
The AgriFoRwArdS CDT student team as well as MSc RAS student, Stephen Rerri-Bekibele, and Dr Parsa exhibiting Robofruit, setting up the equipment in preparation for visitors to the stands.

The brief for the event was for exhibits to be as interactive as possible. Building on this the team developed an interactive learning journey that included a simple actuation and control system using Arduino’s, solenoids and servos. A vision system that could track coloured artefacts in real time. A demonstration of a remote control 4 wheel drive Buggy and a ROS and Gazebo simulation system that can autonomously navigate a grape vineyard and count all the ripe grapes on the vines. Each of these demos were designed, programmed, printed and built using skills the students’ had learnt through Semester A of the MSc RAS program.

Samual Carter exhibiting a Buggy and ROS simulation
Cohort 3 CDT Student, Samual Carter exhibiting a Foundations of Robotics module project Buggy and Robot Programming module ROS and Gazebo grape vineyard simulation.

If that was not enough, the icing on the cake was the demonstration of Robofruit, an autonomous strawberry picking robot that also exhibited at COP26. This was enabled by the wonderful support of Dr Amir Ghalamzan Esfahani and Dr Soran Parsa.

Dr Soran Parsa exhibiting Robofruit during the British Science Week event.
Dr Soran Parsa exhibiting Robofruit during the British Science Week event.

Over 100 students from across the county visited the open day. Students were able to touch and play with the range of demonstrations on offer. To top it off, visitors also had the opportunity to hear the fantastic keynote speech by AgriFoRwArdS CDT Director, Prof Marc Hanhiede, entitled ‘Robots in the Wild’.

CDT student demonstrator comments were extremely positive, with Karoline and Xumin responding:

Karoline: Taking part in the British Science Week event was great. I think we managed to get a lot of the students excited to play around with the robots and start thinking about how things work in the background. I think it was an inspiring day not just for the visiting students but also for me to be able to share my enthusiasm and socialise with other AgriFoRwArdS students.

Xumin: It is a great opportunity to show the achievements of AgriFoRwArdS CDT to others.

The open day was a wild success, especially the AgriFoRwArdS displays. This was due to the effort, engagement and interactions that the CDT students’ displayed throughout the day.

A big thank you to Garry, Sam, Xumin, Niko, Karoline, Willlow, Roopika and Stephen for their time and energy. Additionally, a huge note of thanks to Dr Parsa and Dr Ghalamzan Esfahani for enabling the Robofruit demonstration in such a short period of time.

CDT Students speaking with visitors
CDT Students sharing demonstrations with visitors and detailing the work that AgriFoRwArdS CDT does.

Engaging the public in the work and research that the AgriFoRwArdS CDT does is crucial. Sharing the work done and the directions being taken when developing state-of-the-art technology helps improve the general public’s understanding, as well as demonstrating the critical nature of these activities within the agri-food supply chain.

Congratulations to all the students that took part in this event for making it so successful. If you want to find out more information on the research being done within AgriFoRwArdS or L-CAS, please visit the respective websites.


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