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Newark schoolboy takes the lead by winning competition to name a robot dog

19 January 2022

The UK’s first forest-protecting robot dog now has a name – thanks to a 11-year-old from  Newark.

Sam Davies came up with the winning entry - Gizmo  - as part of a Nottinghamshire County Council-led competition to name the pioneering robot dog.  

The remote-controlled, dog-shaped robot is trialling how footage gathered from areas which are usually inaccessible, can help monitor and assess the health and condition of forests, designed by experts from Birmingham City University.

It forms part of a County Council-led research project  to create the world’s first 5G Connected Forest to test how 5G technology can boost tourism and the environment, working with leading academic researchers and local businesses.

Sam, a pupil of The King's Church of England Primary Academy in Newark  said,

"I suggested Gizmo because it's a futuristic sounding name for a robot dog. 

“I’m very shocked and excited to win.”

Sam and his lucky classmates will be invited to take part in forthcoming  trials - due to take place next month - to test and give their feedback on the new Robin Hood  interactive holographic movie experience, which part of the wider  5G Connected Forest project.  It aims to bring the legend to life using mixed reality headsets.

Sam and his family will enjoy an adventure golf session for a family of four as well as a family meal deal, courtesy of Parkwood Leisure, which manages Rufford Abbey on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Councillor Keith Girling, chairman of the county council’s Economic Development and Asset Management Committee, said,

“Well done to Sam. We had lots of great suggestions in so thanks to everyone who took part. 

“Gizmo is a very fitting name for this amazing robot dog. 

“Sam and his classmates are in for a special treat when they get to  exclusively  try out the fantastic interactive holographic experience which features the legendary  Robin Hood.”

Birmingham City University Associate Professor Taufiq Asyhari said,

“Having worked on this cutting-edge robotic technology over the past year, we are delighted that this pioneering forest ranger robot dog now has a name.”

Sam’s teacher Collette Jeffrey added, 

“I’m thrilled for  Sam. He has a great passion for climate change issues and is a subject we have taught for a few years here at  Kings.

“His  classmates  are very excited about taking part in the interactive experience.”

Funding for the £10m 5G Connected Forest programme has come from the DCMS’s Rural Connected Communities programme, matched by the consortium partners, formed by academic researchers and local businesses.

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