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Smallpeice 2019

Smallpeice 2019 was a summer school that was held from 12th - 16th August 2019.


  • 70 student attendees (80 maximum, 77 signups, 7 no-shows)
  • 16 teams
  • 11 Smallpeice Staff
  • 23 SourceBots volunteers

There were 21 students without media consent this year.


Organisation of the summer school was led by Dan Trickey, in collaboration with Tyler Ward.

Son Hoang from ECS first helped run the summer school this year.

The schedule was largely followed, but with delays on Tuesday due to wood not being cut on time.

Our Intro Presentation can be found here


Students were split into 16 teams.

Lab Layout


The Electronics Labs for this year were completely rewritten based on feedback from Smallpeice 2018. There was a much greater focus on electronics, rather than just soldering. This resulted in students enjoying the labs a lot more, and many of them spent a lot longer working on the labs than we had scheduled them for.

Two teams also built H-Bridge motor drivers by hand, using them to augment the provided motor controllers.


The Python Labs used a modified version of the Python Whirlwind Tour.

Almost half the students attended the 'Introduction to Python' lab. Mentors were given some questions to ask competitors to gauge student's knowledge and help both the student and mentor check whether they needed the session.

All students attended the 'How to Program your Robot' lab. Half of the teams at a time were taken to use the simulator and were given some tasks to complete in the simulator.

Robot Programming

The Robot Programming Labs were new for this year.


The game this year was called Scavengers.


This year we ran a mini-league, a short 6 match league. The points did not count.

It was initially scheduled to run at 4.30pm on Thursday, but delayed to start at 4.40pm.

  • This allowed volunteers to practice working under the very tight schedule
  • The supervisor bot competed in every match.


The league this year was 36 matches long and held on Friday.

  • 10:45 - 12:15
  • 13:00 - 13:39 (Last match ends 13:43)


There were three knockout matches this year, meaning that only the top 8 teams from the league got to play.


There was not a tiebreaker this year.


Due to difficulty obtaining scaffolding, a stage-truss based arena was constructed in the Cube.

  • It is perfectly square.
  • Volunteers have reported that it was very easy to construct.
  • It cost a lot, but was less than the quotes we had for scaffolding this year.
  • It took up a lot of space and we were very close on the Fire Regulations limit.
    • It was assessed at 120 people capacity.



This year was the first time that sbot, a j5 based kit stack was deployed.

  • Raspberry Pi 3B(+)
  • Student Robotics Power Board v4
  • Student Robotics Servo Board v4
  • Student Robotics Motor Board v4
  • Arduino Uno (or clones thereof)

Due to the increase in students from 50 to 80, and delays in kit manufacture, we borrowed a large quantity of kit from Student Robotics.

  • 20 x Student Robotics Power Board v4
  • 20 x Student Robotics Servo Board v4
  • 20 x Student Robotics Motor Board v4
  • 6 x arena monitors
  • 19 x 18L Really Useful Boxes



SRComp was used for arena operations.

This is the first recorded time that full-stack Python 3 has been used in a real-world deployment.

Conference Laptops

This year conference laptops were hired from iSolutions. They were built as "Domain Field Builds", which required a university computing account to use.

As this was account specific, it made it quite difficult to install Python and IDE / Text Editors on them to allow the students to edit their code. This was resolved by distributing the zip install of VSCode, a Notepad++ installer and an unattend.xml to install Python to the local user account. The contents of unattend.xml are below:

    <Option Name="InstallAllUsers" Value="no" />
    <Option Name="InstallLauncherAllUsers" Value="no" />
    <Option Name="SimpleInstall" Value="yes" />
    <Option Name="PrependPath" Value="1" />

Academic Talks

There were 3 academic talks held this year.