Posted by: Anthony Kesterton | March 31, 2011


One of the more fun aspects of my work is what is commonly called “giveback”.  This is where you offer help to your colleagues, and people outside the company.  As IBM celebrates it’s 100th birthday, I am rather proud that the emphasis of the celebration is on helping people and organisations in our community, rather than some internal event.

This is where the fun starts:  I have been able to work with one of the local schools over the last few months as they prepare for a RoboChallenge.  We have a team of 10 and 11-year olds learning to work with Lego Mindstorms robotic kits.  The artistic side is not neglected, they design costumes and a flag for their robot – in fact the whole school got to design a flag and the best one was chosen.  They have specific tasks to perform in the Challenge, and a mystery task that they will only see on the day.  It is very clear some of the kids just grock programming, and all of them have worked hard to build a robot and dress it up.  The robot has been called Bling! – so you can probably guess the costume 🙂

The Challenge is on Saturday – wish us luck!



  1. Good luck! I was just wondering if the robot played rap music as it goes in to battle?

  2. So the RoboChallenge was a lot of fun for everyone involved. We even had a visit from Dallas (of BBC Bang Goes the Theory fame – to encourage everyone and hand out prizes.

    We didn’t mange to win anything but placed well in most of the events. We got to the final of the speed race. Unfortunately, we jumped the start of the final and damaged the robot in an effort to stop it and then went off-track when they restarted. The design was well balanced to prevent a wheelie at the start (those motors have a lot of torque!). We lost a bit of the weight on the front and this meant we did pop a wheelie and went off-course. The good news is we were very quick – just went the wrong way 😦

    Still – very proud of the children (and the adults) involved – and I have volunteered to help again next year if they will let me 🙂

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