Continuing to inspire a new generation of computer scientists
24 Mar 2021
- Rebecca Humble



Remote3 is a Spark Award funded school robotics project, led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Scientific Computing Department (SCD), Boulby Laboratory and Public Engagement Team.




Dr Xin Ran Liu with a Lego Mindstorm Rover and a full-size Mars Rover prototype at Boulby Underground Lab​The original design of Remote3 was to help students from remote schools in the Scottish Highlands access exciting STEM challenges. Since it began, the project has been adapted to continue online during the coronavirus pandemic, and has been extended to reach many more schools.

Children all over the country attended weekly webinars over the summer that introduced a coding challenge and provided information about the uses of robots all around the world, and provided the opportunity to learn about the research carried out at STFC's Boulby Underground Laboratory.

Boulby Underground Laboratory is home to a Mars Yard, where Mars Rover prototypes are tested as part of international space research. The extremely salty, hot and dusty environment there simulates conditions found on other planets and is exactly where the students' rovers will be tested.

XinRan, the Principal Investigator for the project and a Boulby Underground scientist based at the University of Edinburgh says: “We want the project to inspire creative design, encourage teamwork, and develop presentation skills in a diverse environment, as well as provide awareness of the remarkable front-line science taking place. In doing so we hope to encourage the next generation of young people into a career in STEM subjects."

SCD's Tom Dack helping to test code in a Remote3 webinarDuring the project, students have been creating code using applications called Scratch and MakeCode, which they then test remotely on a LEGO Mindstorm robot. Experienced computer scientists from SCD are on hand to answer students' questions each step of the way.

And that's not all! On 27th January, the Remote3 team took part in an online event run by the Muslim Scout Fellowship, where they ran activities for the beavers and scouts to help them work towards achieving some Space and Astronomy themed badges. As part of this event, participants were given a virtual tour of Boulby Underground Laboratory, and took part in some exoplanets and aliens themed activities.

The event was a huge success with around 200 people watching live, over 8000 views and received over 1000 positive comments on the Facebook live stream during the hour-long section!

To watch the event, click here - the SCD section begins 2.5 hours in.

To take part in the Remote3 Summer Challenge, sign up online here.

Contact: Humble, Rebecca (STFC,RAL,SC)