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Dr Farshad Arvin points to a screen of his robot presentation in front of pupils

County Durham primary school pupils were inspired by a recent visit from one of our computer scientists and his robots.

Dr Farshad Arvin, Associate Professor in our Department of Computer Science, recently took some of his micro-robots to show pupils at Pelton Community Primary School, near Chester-le-Street.  

Dr Arvin gave a presentation that included a potted history of robots and what the future might hold for the technology.  

He also spoke about his RoboRoyale EU project at Durham in collaboration with the University of Graz, Czech Technical University and Middle East Technical University.   

Dr Arvin is leading the project in which he and his team are building robotic bees that can support the well-being of the queen bee to ensure healthier broods and more active and healthy bee colonies. 

Roboticists of the future 

The Pelton pupils, from school years 5 and 6, were shown slides of the robotic bees and handled some wheeled micro-robots created by Dr Arvin.  

The pupils asked him scores of questions, ranging from how long it takes to build a robot, to how much they cost to make and where the initial idea comes from.  

Afterwards, the children were asked whether they would consider a future in the robotics industry and the overwhelming majority said yes.  

Durham to Dallas 

The Pelton pupils were particularly engaged with Dr Arvin’s work as the school has its own robotics team that recently competed on the world stage in the USA.  

Dubbed the Pelton Piranhas, the team qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship held in Dallas, Texas, from April 25 to May 4, 2023.  

Thanks to fundraising and a £10,000 donation from Durham, the Pelton Piranhas were able to travel the 4,000-plus miles to the USA to compete.  

Although the Pelton Piranhas did not win in Dallas, the school’s DT and robotics lead, Sarah Laws, said the experience had been ‘absolutely incredible’. 


Our Department of Computer Science is growing, with ambitious plans for the future and an inclusive, vibrant and international community at its heart. Ranked as a UK Top 10 Department (Complete University Guide 2023), our students develop knowledge and gain essential and transferable skills through high quality teaching, delivered by a passionate team of leading academics.  

Feeling inspired? Visit our Computer Science webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes.