Adil and Ruaridh from p6 at Gargieston Primary operate a robot

National Robotarium visits Gargieston Primary

The National Robotarium made its first visit to East Ayrshire this week when the team visited P6 at Gargieston Primary for a day of exciting workshops.

The National Robotarium, which is based in Edinburgh, opened its doors in September 2022 and has built a world-class reputation in advancing research in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). The state-of the-art facilities and industry collaborations means that companies are enabled to develop solutions to global challenges. Advancements have already been made in, for example health care, with the development of a robot with e-skin, which is advanced electronic skin that give clinicians the ability to ‘feel’ their patients remotely.

A key goal of the facility is to engage with the next generation of robotics and AI engineers so Blair, Hannah and Alex from the Robotarium packed up their robots and headed to Kilmarnock for Gargieston Primary’s STEM week.

And what a day P6 had! The workshops were informative but fun. The young people were asked to design their own robots to help with tasks around the house. The robots were going to be very busy tidying bedrooms. They also got an opportunity to operate small robots, creating mazes for the robots to follow and to interact with the larger robots, including Pepper the world’s first humanoid robot that can recognise faces and basic human emotions. Pepper could either give a hug or a high five, which P6 thought was amazing. There were also robots that looked like animals, which caused a bit of a stir when they were running about.

Councillor Elaine Cowan, the Council’s Spokesperson for Education, and Children and Young People was invited to join the Robotarium workshop by Head Teacher Julie McKee, along with local members, Councillors Douglas Reid, Iain Linton, Lillian Jones and James Adams, and Graham McGinn, Depute Head of Education.

Councillor Cowan said: “What an incredible opportunity for our young people to learn from leaders within the robotics and AI world. Blair, Alex and Hannah were fantastic with our young people and I can’t thank them enough for taking the time to visit Gargieston Primary and for inspiring the future generation of engineers.

“The young people were so thoughtful with their questions and were ready to embrace the technology, sometimes quite literally as Pepper the robot was giving lots of hugs. Their world is going to so different to ours and it is essential that we show our children and young people what can be achieved.

“I would also like to thank Gary Neilson, ICT Co-ordinator, who worked really hard to secure this visit and to Head Teacher Julie McKee who is working with her team to ensure STEM week is out of this world for the children and young people. They will be heading to Dumfries House next week for workshops on Satellites in Space and then will be learning about the technology within the Ayrshire Growth Deal, so there is still lots to learn.”


The National Robotarium, which is a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh University, is part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative.

It is supported by £21 million from the UK Government and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government through the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal – a 15-year investment programme jointly funded by both governments and regional partners.