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... But will there be squeaks?

Maze-solving, drag-racing and mini-sumo are among the baffling activities awaiting participants at next month's rodent robot festival in Birmingham.

UK Micromouse 2007 is the world's only festival dedicated to home-built robot mice. This year's event will see seasoned electronic rodent enthusiasts battling it out alongside teams of schoolchildren for the senior championship.

Meanwhile the National Schools Micromouse Competition will pitch mouse against mouse as they race to the heart of a purpose-built maze.

If you prefer something a little less cerebral, there is mouse-sumo and mouse-racing. Entries can consist of anything from souped-up Lego mice to a vision-guided chassis with ears and a tail.

UK Micromouse organiser Dr Tony Wilcox said: "While robots capture the imagination of people of all ages, UK Micromouse actually enables them to get involved and compete alongside sophisticated robots from around the world."

The event, on June 30, this year, was originally set up by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to boost the discipline's profile.

Gavin Crook, from the IET Birmingham Local Network, said: "Events such as UK Micromouse are vital to raise the profile of engineering and bring more people into the associated industries. There is a wide range of rewarding careers that use the skills required by this competition.

"The IET is delighted to re-establish links with the competition and looks forward to being involved in a fun and extremely competitive day."

Advice on building mouse-robots and further details can be found online at www.tic.ac.ukmicromouse

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