Merchiston Team 2016

Engineering at Merchiston is available to junior and senior pupils through the activity programme and compliments the technology subjects of Computing Science, Design & Technology and Electronics. In addition to the activities that run in the Autumn and Lent terms, the boys are also able to enter various competitions and take advantage of courses outside school.

Arkwright Scholarship

The Arkwright Scholarship is the most prestigious Engineering Scholarship available in the UK. A rigorous selection process involving an on-line application, a written exam and a formal interview allow 5th Form pupils to highlight their talents. The Arkwright Scholarship provides funding and support for the two years of the Sixth Form for pupils who plan to follow a career in Engineering.

See for more details

Merchiston has an outstanding record of presenting candidates for the Arkwright Scholarship and the following boys have been successful over the years:

2016 K Ko ERA Foundation
2015 I Booth MacRobert Trust
2014 C McDonald Ofcom
2013 C Dwyer MacRobert Trust
2012 C Nicholls Thales
2012 T Powell University of Glasgow
2011 J McDiarmid Barcapel Foundation
2011 M Morson Reece Foundation
2010 A Paterson Geraldine Kirkpatrick Trust
2010 C Sole AECOM
2008 C Paton MacRobert Trust
2008 S Warden RG Hills
2007 T Palacios MacRobert Trust
2007 J Wootton Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust
2006 J Arbuthnott Ernest Cook
2005 E McCaul Scottish Power
2005 H Pollock Fraser Faber Maunsell
2004 D Xiang Happold
2003 J Loudon Arkwright
2003 A Shell Faber Maunsell

In 2016/17, the then Headmaster, Mr Hunter (1998 – 2018) and his wife, organised the Arkwright Scholarship noticeboard. Taking pride of place in the entrance to the Robertson building, the display board allows us to celebrate the success of former and current pupils.

Engineering Education Scheme

The Engineering Education Scheme, run by the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), is the flagship competition for pupils in their Lower Sixth Form year. The scheme involves working with a local company over an extended period of time during the Autumn and Lent Terms to produce a working product, prototype or conceptual design. The teams are tasked with writing a significant project report and presenting their conclusions to a panel of industry experts at the Celebration and Assessment Day. Every year the teams have gained a huge amount of experience from their participation.

See for scheme details

See for details of the EDT

2018: Wireless Security Network

Team: Axel, Ben, Charlie, Do Heon, Sean and Stuart
Sponsor: Leonardo
Overview: The project was to build a wireless security system that could be deployed to secure a room or area on a temporary basis with little or no prior installation. The project developed a range of autonomous security sensors that could allow a room to be remotely monitored through a web browser or via an App.
Outcome: Winners of the Industry Award
Report: 2018 (pdf) 

2017: Demonstration Radar

Team: Brian, Craig, Edward, Rory and Sean
Sponsor: Leonardo
Overview: The project was to build a working demonstration radar. The finished project used ultrasound to scan the room, with position being provided by a 2-axis servo arrangement. The project ran its own hotspot enabling any device to connect to the onboard webserver and learn how each part of the radar functioned.
Outcome: 2nd Place
Report: 2017 (pdf) 

2016: Autonomous Rover

Team: Aaron, Alasdair, Angus, Dave and Imhotep
Sponsor: Leonardo
Overview: To build an autonomous rover that could traverse rough terrain and find its way to a predetermined spot. The final project was a custom made rover with a Raspberry Pi using odometers on the wheels to measure how far it had gone. The rover worked beautifully in testing, however, it overloaded the Pi on the day of the final assessment!
Outcome: Runner Up
Report: 2016 (pdf)

2015: Traffic Alert and Response System (TARS)

Team: Colm, Felix, Joshua and Kevin
Sponsor: Selex ES
Overview: TARS worked out very well and developed a few side projects too. The radar module was developed as an Arduino shield and attracted attention at the Edinburgh Maker Faire. The final project used a camera to capture details of speeding motorists and communicated via internet to alert site security.
Outcome: 2nd Place in EES. Accepted as an entry for the National Science and Engineering Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. Made it through to the finals in the Senior Engineering category and placed 3rd Nationally.

2014: Automated Adhesive Dispenser

Team: Caelan, Cameron, Charles, Karsten and Seumas
Sponsor: Selex ES
Overview: Gluing lenses in place on high power laser systems was the challenge for the team. The prototype used a series of different mechanical systems and an Arduino control system. The most popular demonstration at the assessment day was the Lego model of the prototype.
Report: 2014 (pdf)

2013: Photovoltaic Cell Efficiency Testing

Team: Andrew, Cameron, Drummond, David and Tom
Sponsor: The University of Edinburgh
Overview: The project aimed to test the efficiency of solar cells by making a realistic spectrum model of sunlight and then data-logging the performance of the solar cell. This was a really well engineered project getting close to being a viable test system. The Arduino based data logger and bespoke electronics impressed the judges.
Outcome: 2nd Place in the EES, 1st at the Scottish Big Bang Fair. Exhibited at the National Science and Engineering Competition in Birmingham.
Report:  2013 (pdf)

2012: Bio_Electronic Interface (Bionic Hand)

Team: August, Ben, Jonny, Matthew and Will
Sponsor: The University of Edinburgh
Overview: At first this was a daunting project but the team made great progress and managed to get a circuit to respond to their muscle flex. What followed was a very nice piece of bespoke electronics and a proof of concept lego hand. To support the project the team created a project website freely sharing their findings.
Outcome: 1st Place in EES. 1st Place in Big Bang Fair Scotland. Exhibited at National Science and Engineering fair, London and won the Royal Academy of Engineering Prize.
Report: 2012 (pdf)

2011: Harvesting Energy from the Human Body

Team: Angus, Jamie, Rupert, Ryan
Sponsor: The University of Edinburgh
Overview: The team was tasked with harvesting energy from the everyday movements of the human body. The solution involved induction generators and strain gauges used throughout the day to produce enough power to charge super-capacitors.
Report: 2011 (pdf)

2010: Laser Activated Detection System (LADS)

Team: Alasdair, Bobak, Chips and Sam
Sponsor: Selex
Overview: The outcome of the project was a buggy that followed a laser beam. The application was a proof of concept for a battlefield robot that could be directed using a laser beam. The project worked really well in the lab and was good fun to develop.
Report:2010 (pdf)

2009: Solar Measurement System (SMS)

Team: Campbell, Craig, Tom and Scott
Sponsor: Napier University
Overview: This project marked Merchiston’s return to the EES after the scheme was relaunched in Scotland. The challenge was to make a system capable of measuring the actual useful power output of a solar panel rather than its carefully measured specification. The team chose to datalog the task of pumping water to see how useful a particular panel actual was.
Outcome: 2nd Place in EES finals.
Report: 2009 (pdf) 

Rampaging Chariots

The Rampaging Chariots competition is fun … and very challenging. Each year the boys in Shell who study Electronics are given the opportunity to build a competition robot from a kit. The robots can be upgraded, and often are, before competing in the Scottish Robotic Games hosted at Leonardo, Edinburgh.

See for full details

In the 2016/17 Academic Year, Merchiston was one of four schools selected to trial the new autonomous upgrade kit which, it was hoped, would allow the chariot to navigate the assault course unaided. This turned out to be a seriously challenging undertaking but the team managed to make a working upgrade and completed half of the assault course before going wrong. However, this was enough to take the first ever Autonomous trophy. The team plans to return for another go next year!

Summer 2018: Mystery Machine, Hazardous, Pretty in Pink and 3rd Time Lucky

We had four chariots for this year’s competition. Hazardous (Harry and Joseph) being the newest and Mystery Machine (Finlay and Jeffrey) from the 5th Form also making an appearance for the first time. 3rd Time Lucky (Bassam, Ben, Charlie) returned to the Autonomous section and Pretty in Pink (Rory) came along for fun. The results were:
Assault Course: 1st – Mystery Machine (Jeffrey). Hazardous was through to the top 4 shootout but crashed and burned with mechanical failure.
Sumo: Pretty in Pink (Rory) and Mystery Machine (Finlay) both got knocked out of the qualifiers … clearly more driving practise needed.
Tug-of-War: Hazardous (Joseph) and 3rd Time Lucky (Charlie) mader it through the opening rounds but were overpowered in the end.
Football: 1st – Mystery Machine (Finlay) and Hazardous (Joseph) dominated the Football winning Gold.
Scottish Grand Champion – Mystery Machine (Jeffrey and Finlay).
See the robots in action here

Summer 2017: Pretty In Pink & Third Time Lucky

We had two Chariots in attendance. Pretty in Pink (Brian, Finlay and Rory) did a super job in the Sumo wrestling getting in to the quarter finals which was not bad for a new and inexperienced driver. Third Time lucky (Charlie, Ben and Bassam) was placed 3rd in the Assault Course, caught fire in the Tug of War – there was smoke but luckily no flames – and died in the football. The Merchiston team were knocked out of the football in the semi-finals. Third Time Lucky ran in Autonomous mode during the lunch break.
See Bassam’s perfect assault course run
First autonomous attempt at the assault course (Charlie)

Summer 2016: Kitchen Sink, Pretty in Pink and Third Time Lucky

Merchiston Team 2016Our most successful year ever. The three chariots took on all comers and Kitchen Sink, on her final outing, was determined to leave more of mark than just a huge dent in the wall of the arena. The results were:
Assault Course: 2nd Place – Kitchen Sink (Alasdair)
Sumo: 1st – Kitchen Sink (Jack)
Tug of War: 3rd – Third Time Lucky (Brian)
Football: 2nd – Kitchen Sink (Third Time Lucky and Pretty in Pink as a team were 4th)
Scottish Grand Champion – Kitchen Sink (Alasdair, Ben, Jack & Jack)

To get a feel for the action, watch our videos:

Summer 2015: Kitchen Sink & Pretty in Pink

A significantly upgraded Kitchen Sink returned to the games this year along with a brand new and very bright Pretty in Pink (in safety pink). We still lacked the experience necessary to win the events but Kitchen Sink picked up the Best Engineered prize for all the upgrades.
See our celebration video 

Summer 2014: Kitchen Sink

Marking a return to the Scottish Robotic Games after a few years of absence, it was a steep learning curve. Alasdair, Ben, Jack and Jack did well to learn the events but, at the end of the day, were outclassed by the other drivers. The Kitchen Sink, as it rapidly became known, due to the copper pipe roll cage, also suffered reliability issues becoming uncontrollable in the semi final of the assault course – amusing to watch, back to base for an upgrade. 

Summer 2007

Encouraged by our success the previous year, two new teams entered the games with shiney new robots – one made of aluminium armour and the other named after Chuck Norris. The Games were much bigger this year and our driving skills needed to improve but we learnt a lot and did well in most of the events.

Merchiston team 2006Summer 2006

Merchiston attended the inaugural Scottish Robotic Games with two robots and came away with a clutch of prizes on the day. This was to be the start of our involvement with competition robots and robot games.




Headstart is an opportunity for students to spend a week at the end of the Summer Term at a top university experiencing life as an Engineering student. Places are highly competitive and students have to demonstrate a high level of ability and commitment to be offered the opportunity.

Every year we support the applications of our ambitious students, and Merchiston is proud to have had students attend Headstart courses every summer for the last decade or longer.

See to find out more about Headstart

Year in Industry

The Year in Industry (YinI) Scheme allows students to use their gap year to work for an Engineering company as an apprentice employee complete with full salary, management training course, advanced maths course and the chance to complete an independent project. The Year in Industry Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for our students and is promoted as an alternative gap year for those entering the Engineering profession.

The application process is very competitive and Merchiston has supported several successful candidates over the last few years working for the likes of ScotRail and Scottish Power.

See for full details

Translate »