11 Oct 12. Oculus Systems Ltd has become the UK re-seller for the NANO UAS, Huginn X-1 (manufactured by Sky-Watch in Denmark). A lightweight and agile platform with intuitive controls the X-1 will be a popular choice for a wide variety of tasks in both civilian and military arenas. The X-1 is a UAS designed for visual inspection, such as IED clearance, surveillance, search, visual inspection of inaccessible areas, inspection of contaminated areas and pipe & power line inspection. The platform is equipped with a dual mounted EO/IR camera, which can take high-resolution pictures and videos. The aircraft has an integrated GPS and the operator can control the aircraft using autonomous way point mode or manually controlling flight to enable inspection of indoor facilities. Easily deployable, the X1 can be transported as hand luggage on aircraft or in the back of a car and can be set up and deployed in less than three minutes.
15 Oct 12. Staff at QinetiQ HQ saw two local schools go head to head in a hosted robotics competition. ‘Robolympics’ was held recently and for a second year at QinetiQ’s Headquarters in Farnborough and was used to provide support for local schools in inspiring young people in science and engineering, and encouraging involvement in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) network. The two invited schools, Calthorpe Park School and Court Moor School from Fleet were invited to send 10 children each (aged 11- 16) to take part in the day, themed around the Winter Olympics. A team of volunteers from QinetiQ, supported by students from the “Grey Matter Robotics” club in Camberley ran the day, as well as judging the three ‘Robolympic’ events during the day. All the competing robots were constructed from LEGO Mindstorms NXT kits. With only one hour for each event, the pressure was on to work as a team to design, build, program and test as many of their ideas as they could before entering their most successful designs in the competition. Each competition was very close. The standard of engineering, programming and the range of different solutions tried was impressive. The overall winners were the students from Court Moor School, who won the Speed Skating and Ski Jump events, with Calthorpe Park students winning the nail-biting Cross Country Skiing Relay race. A third team comprising teachers from both schools made a valiant effort but couldn’t match the performance or reliability of the students’ robots – they clearly need to spend more time playing with LEGO.