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Third Annual ‘Defect Detectives’ Day Sparks Imaginations

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Tue, 03 March, 2020

TWI and Cambridge Launchpad held their third successful ‘Defect Detectives’ activity day at TWI’s Cambridge site. 50 year 5 pupils, aged 9-10, were invited along for the day from Fulbourn Primary School to participate in an exciting technical programme based around the detection of welding defects.

The main activity was a robotic inspection challenge using Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits. The pupils were split into ten teams and tasked with building and programming robots to assess the integrity of a simulated weld line. The robots needed to be programmed to travel along the weld line before stopping and sounding an alert when a ‘defect’ was located. The challenge is based upon real world applications and demonstrates the importance of detecting defects that could otherwise render a structure unsafe.

The children had fun choosing a name for their teams and creating their banners ahead of the final test to see which robot was the best at completing the detection task. The activity encouraged team working and design skills among the pupils while also encouraging an interest in engineering.

Awards were given for best design (team Dare to Create) and teamwork (team NEVFF) with the overall ‘top team’ award going to team Dixie. The day was a great success and enjoyed by everyone involved.

The event, based on current TWI and London South Bank University project work, was organised by Catherine Condie, Matt Haslett and Gabriela Gallegos and overseen by 28 volunteers from across TWI.

Organised in association with the Granta Centre, TWI, The Welding Institute, the Tipper Group, NSIRC volunteers and with assistance from the UK Robogals series, the ‘Defect Detectives’ engineering challenge was part of the Cambridge Launchpad series of schools' activity days hosted by businesses across the region.

(Photographs provided by Cambridge LaunchPad)

TWI's Mike Russell with members of the winning team, Dixie
TWI's Mike Russell with members of the winning team, Dixie

For more information please email:


contactus@twi.co.uk