Electronic & Electrical Engineering student, George Foster, is currently in his final year at the University of Strathclyde. We caught up with him to talk about his exciting Robot Wars project, and his experiences of being a student at Strathclyde.
“It would probably be the best day of my life if that happened to be honest!”
"I plan to work in robotics, working in the automated production lines or even working on electric motor control which is found in robots or electric cars."
Electronic & Electrical Engineering student George Foster, couldn’t hide his excitement when talking about his project – a 110kg robot called Vortex. George, originally from Gloucester, has been working on his pride and joy for 18 months, investing some £6,000 into it in the process!
It’s all for the dream of appearing on cult BBC TV series Robot Wars, which after a thirteen-year gap was revived by in 2016. “When I was a little kid I used to watch Robot Wars and when I heard it was coming back the little kid inside me was screaming that I should have a go,” George explained.
George joined the University through our Engineering Academy. He attended one of our Open Days and it was engineering that excited him. “I went to an Open Day and I had no real idea what I wanted to do. I started seeing all the little projects and you get a little bit excited - you kind of know what you want to do. And once you get that excitement and knowledge, that will really progress you in the rest of your career.”
“There’s no way I could have made this robot if it hadn’t been for the subject I’m studying and the help I’ve received from academics at the University.”
Now in his final year, George says he couldn’t have achieved what he has with Vortex without studying on his course, and was keen to praise the help he’s received from his lecturers.
“There’s no way I could have made this robot if it hadn’t been for the subject I’m studying and the help I’ve received from academics at the University,” he enthused. “The University gave us a lot of help. They helped us with the electronics of the system, if we had any questions the lecturers would come back to us.”
Vortex’s weapon can achieve speeds of 257mph, and so tough was the material it took University staff 12 hours to cut using a high pressure water jet.
“I had built the frame and the gearboxes and when I asked the year head if I could pay to use the University’s machinery to make the robot’s weapon he said no, they would do it for free.”
Being a Strathclyder
Asked about his experience at the University and the best part of being a Strathclyder, George stated, “Purely the facilities and support. Ever since day one here I’ve never felt like I was by myself. I’ve constantly had someone who could always help me if I struggled with certain parts or areas of the subject. I found multiple lectures and different types of seminars that could easily help me through it.”
“Ever since day one here I’ve never felt like I was by myself. I’ve constantly had someone who could always help me if I struggled with certain parts or areas of the subject.”
Engineering is fun
George has also been out with the department at local schools talking about his experiences, and of course, showing off Vortex to the excited pupils. His advice for students thinking about getting into engineering is that the hard work is worth it, “It is just fun. It’s been hard work but the reward and the payoff has just been absolutely brilliant. You get to do things that you just thought you could never do.”
Next up for George is hopefully being picked as one of the 40 competitors for the next series of Robot Wars. Following graduation his experiences as a student here have whet his appetite for a career in robotics, "I plan to work in robotics, working in the automated production lines or even working on electric motor control which is found in robots or electric cars."