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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Experts make robotic welly wanger
The welly wanger (picture: Aberystwyth University)
If you want your welly wanged, look no further than this bright idea
The eccentric British sport of hurling wellington boots has been given a mechanical makeover by scientists at Aberystwyth University.

More commonly known as welly wanging, experts have built a machine capable of propelling a welly up to 262ft (80m).

A team has taken an engine from a concrete mixer and a gearbox from a Citroen 2CV and devised the robotic "wanger" for a TV programme.

The team's machine is set to compete in Channel 4's Scrapheap Challenge.

Richard Shipman, who teaches artificial intelligence, Andy Shaw, a researcher in space robotics, and computer technician Ian Izett, have built the wanger using scrap metal and discarded mechanical parts.

Powered by a diesel engine, the wellingtons, up to six at a time, are fired from a two-metre diameter computer controlled disc which rotates at up to 250 times per minute.

Ian Izett, Dr Andy Shaw and Richard Shipman (picture: Aberystwyth University)
Aberystwyth dream team Ian Izett, Andy Shaw and Richard Shipman

A second computer monitors wind speed and direction and relays the information via a third computer and a radio link to a laptop where team members can monitor its progress.

"Other than building the machine itself, the main challenge for us has been getting the computer systems to talk to each other and then to interact with all the hardware," said Mr Shipman.

"The exercise has been very useful for our research as it's the kind of work we are always doing with robots and autonomous vehicles."

On 30 August, the university team's welly wanger will line up against 15 other similar machines in Channel 4's Scrapheap Challenge Roadshow in Dorset. The event will be aired on TV next spring.

Last year, another team from the university worked on a project to build a robot after researching how the human brain worked.

Watch the welly-wanger in action


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