Year of Robotics Mascot Winner Announced



Ten-year-old Katy Ashworth (pictured) from St Margaret's Primary School near Edinburgh has won a technology-inspired competition to design a mascot for Heriot-Watt University's 2017 Year of Robotics.

Katy designed ‘Watt Bot', a blue humanoid-robot with switches for arms, window-screen wipers for eyebrows and Heriot-Watt University's logo engraved on its chest.

She won the competition for school pupils which attracted an overwhelming 1,184 competitors from 41 schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Our aim for the competition was to inspire a fundamental interest in robotics and artificial intelligence in children from a young age.

Dr Theo Lim, competition judge, Heriot-Watt University

Katy's design will now be used as the official mascot for the University's Year of Robotics initiative and has been created using a 3D printer.

Katy said: “I could not believe it when they told me my ‘Watt Bot' had won, I'm so excited. I tried to make it look quite funny by giving it different sized eyeballs and moving eyebrows. I think that's why the judges probably liked it the most.”

Heriot-Watt University has been showcasing its contribution to the development of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for future generations since January.

The University is running a calendar of events throughout the year spanning schools, the public, academia, industry collaborators, funders and policy makers.

Dr Theo Lim, from Heriot-Watt University, and Rossie Stone, from Dekko Comics, judged the mascot entries based on functionality, originality, imagination and effort.

Commenting on the competition, Dr Theo Lim said: “As well as being funny, Katy's design is suited to 3D visualisation, modelling and printing, so we knew that it would look good once we printed it.

“Our aim for the competition was to inspire a fundamental interest in robotics and artificial intelligence in children from a young age, in a similar fashion to the way PCs were introduced to schools through the 1980s and 1990s.

“The impact that areas like machine learning and automation are going to have on the job market is going to be huge, so it's important they have a good idea of what is ahead of them.”

Dr Ross Walker, who printed the mascot, said: “Technology has advanced very quickly when it comes to 3D printing, and we can now use materials from polymers to metals, from food products to cells, and the ability to mix various materials during the build process. It is an area in which a lot of progress has been made in a very short space of time.”

The Year of Robotics involves a consortium of partners spanning seven universities, research institutes, and private companies from Scotland, France, Switzerland, and Finland.