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Oxford Summer School 2018

Introduction to Robotics Ages 13-15

Oxford Summer School 2018

The field of robotics is fascinating and diverse. Oxford Royale Summer Schools's Introduction to Robotics summer course is designed to give students a practical, hands-on headstart in a discipline that is as important as it is exciting.

Oxford Royale also offers a Summer Robotics Programme for ages 16-18

2 weeks | Available July 2018

  • Live, dine and study in colleges of the University of Oxford
  • Expert tutoring from ORA's technology faculty
  • Talks and debates with world-class guest speakers
  • A truly international environment - over 130 nationalities in 2017
  • Inspirational cultural programme, including excursions to historic UK locations

Course Summary

Cutting-edge robots are taking the world by storm. Whether designed to complete simple, repetitive tasks or highly complex operations, robots look set to transform almost every aspect of our lives.

During this two-week robotics summer course, students will go on a journey; one which begins with learning the basic theory of robotics, and ends with them being able to control several advanced robotic behaviours, including moving, turning, line detection, line following, and obstacle avoidance.

Participants will become familiar with Raspberry Pi and will write code in Python; however, prior knowledge of Raspberry Pi or Python is not a pre-requisite.

In addition to the practical element, students will also take time out to analyse the field of robotics as it stands today, which will include a debate on self-driving cars.

Where could the Introduction to Robotics summer course lead you?

Why choose Introduction to Robotics for 13-15 years?

A robot is a physical device that uses its sensors and code to understand its environment, and in turn produces efficient, robust and flexible actions. This course places emphasis on both the theoretical and practical aspects of robotics, to provide our students aged 13, 14 and 15 with a solid grounding in the discipline.

How will Introduction to Robotics help me?

This two-week summer course is fast-paced and activity-based. A lot of material will be covered, and students will have plenty of chances to ask questions. Students, under the guidance of their expert teacher, will begin by looking at the fundamentals - wheeled motion, basic control and outward looking sensors. Participants will then focus on discovering how they can use these to produce reactive behaviors in their own robots. Each lesson is accompanied by an exercise to help students cement their understanding and visualise it in the real-world. For a full breakdown of the course content, please see the Day-by-Day Schedule below.

Is this course for me?

If you have ever wanted to see your own robot whizzing about controlled by your programme, then this course is for you.

Topics covered

  • Setting up and testing the environment (hardware and software)
  • Several programming languages, including Raspberry Pi and Python
  • Conditional programming follows, statements and loops
  • Assembly of a robotic car, and learning how to control each component
  • Ultrasonic distance measurement
  • Learning to negotiate challenging mazes
  • The ethics of robotics

Day-by-Day Schedule

Week | Day Lesson Content
Week One | Monday - Welcome to robotics
- Setting up the environment (hardware and software)
- Testing the environment
Week One | Tuesday - Introduction to the Raspberry Pi
- Programming in Python
Week One | Wednesday - Conditional programming - Statements, Loops and more
- Functions and modules
- Robotic car assembly
Week One | Thursday - Sending instructions to the robot
- Controlling each component
- Running the motors
Week One | Friday - Driving and turning the robot
- Line detection
- Robotics Race Challenge
Week Two | Monday - Ultrasonic distance measurement using sensors
- Robot control, configuration and calibration
- Trying different manoeuvres
Week Two | Tuesday - Automatic line detection and following
- Robot Maze challenge
Week Two | Wednesday - Obstacle avoidance 1 - how to avoid collisions
- Obstacle avoidance 2 - what to do when a potential collision is detected
- 3D Maze Challenge
Week Two | Thursday - Controlling your robot remotely
- Testing remotely given instructions and responses
Week Two | Friday - Discussion: Autonomous cars
- Discussion: Robots and AI
- Debate: Are Robots Good For Humanity?
- Final workshop: Copy-Cat Robot Challenge

What will you get out of the Introduction to Robotics course?

In class, students will work with Raspberry Pi single board computers and an adaptor kit to build their own robot.They will then use the Python programming language to bring their robots to life.

Participants will be challenged to get their robots to complete a 3D maze, a "copy-cat" choreography challenge and a robot car race. These practical activities are intended to not only keep our students motivated, but also to ensure total engagement with the material.

Students will learn in classes of not more than 10 students, and will be led by a teacher with a wealth of experience in the field of robotics.

Welcome to the City of Oxford - your home this summer

ORA Experience

Oxford is a city like no other, combining startlingly beautiful architecture with a buzzing, modern city centre, with superb shopping, restaurants, cafés and more. With the colleges of Oxford University at its heart, some almost 800 years old, it is a city steeped in history and academia.

Students on Oxford Royale's Oxford summer courses will have the chance to live, dine and study in this stunning city, exploring all of its major sites and discovering its hidden secrets. Through both organised trips to key landmarks and free time in the evenings, students will become acquainted with all that Oxford has to offer.

As students walk the cobbled streets and gaze up at the spires, gargoyles and honey-coloured stone buildings, they will be walking in the footsteps of some of the most influential figures in history, including prime ministers, presidents, Nobel prize-winning scientists, authors and more.

Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?
Why study in Oxford?

Useful information for students & parents


Students will be accommodated in comfortable single or twin rooms depending on their allocated college (please contact our registrations team if you would like more information on this). Twin rooms are strictly shared by students of the same gender, and males/females are separated by corridor and/or staircase. Accommodation is the standard for undergraduates studying at the university, so students are able to get a taste of what being an Oxford student might be like. Bathrooms are typically shared between students of the same gender, however in some cases en-suite facilities are available.

Pastoral care & student welfare

The programme is overseen by the Programme Director, who implements the day-to-day running of the programme. The Director is assisted by a team of Counsellors who very often are current members of the University of Oxford or University of Cambridge. The Counsellors ensure that students are looked after pastorally, culturally and socially during their programme. Students are able to talk informally and frankly to the Counsellors in order to raise concerns or to discuss their course. Each campus has members of staff who are residential throughout the programme and are able to assist students at any time of the day or night.

Eligibility & pre-requisites

Students on this course:

  • Must conform to our age policy.
  • Must be fluent or near-fluent English language speakers – if you are unsure whether your English level is suitable for this programme, please contact our Registrations Team on and they will be able to assist you.
  • Must be able to fulfil the basic requirements of the programme, in terms of attendance at lessons, meals and events. Please contact our Registrations Team for more detailed information.

Find out more

Find out more Immigration & Visas

Information and advice on securing your student visa.

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Find out more Arrival & Departure

Information about how to travel to and from ORA.

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Find out more Airport Transfers

Details of transfers between ORA and Heathrow Airport.

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Find out more FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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Introduction to Robotics for Ages 13-15 is residential in the following locations:

(If your course takes place in more than one campus in the same city and you would like to know more about which location you will be allocated, please call our registrations team)

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