Robofest SA 2015 to put maths and science skills to the test

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 03/09/2015 - 16:56

Robofest SA 2015 to put maths and science skills to the test

When it comes to robotics and computer science the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) – and more specifically the School of Information Technology, is the name to remember. The School will play host to the South African leg of the very popular international Robofest Competition.

     

According to Suné van der Linde, a lecturer within the School of Information Technology and an expert on robotics, this year marks the second time that the Campus will play host to the South African leg of the competition.  This year will see school going learners participate on Saturday, 14 March 2015, and by doing so stand a chance to represent South Africa at the Robofest World Championship that will take place on 15-16 May at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield, Michigan

The South African leg of Robofest 2015 includes the following categories:

  • Robo-parade
  • Game Play
  • Exhibition

Robofest is a festival of competitions and events with autonomous robots that encourages learners – from as young as grade 4, to have fun while learning principles of physical science, computer science, technology, engineering, mathematics and information and communication technologies (ICT). Learners design, construct and program their own robots.

The Robofest concept  has taken the world by storm since its inception in 2000 and over 16 000 learners have competed in Robofest over the past 15 years – including teams from 13 US States, England, Canada, China, France India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore, and South Africa.

Teams compete in junior (grades 5-8), senior (grades 9-12), and university divisions. According to Suné the South African leg of the competition will be extended in 2016 to include university teams. “It is important for us, as a university campus to explore new technologies such as robotics and the possibilities it holds for the future,” says Suné and adds that through initiatives such as robotics and more specific Robofest, learners will get acquainted with fields of specialisation such as engineering, Information Technology, programming and mathematics.  

More about Robotics

Robotics is a branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. These technologies deal with automated machines (robots) that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behaviour, and/or cognition. Robotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily. Many robots do jobs that are dangerous to people such as defusing bombs, mines and exploring shipwrecks.

On the topic of mathematics and information technology

On 17 October 2015 the NWU Vaal will be hosting its 3rd annual Geexpo. During the Geexpo learners are invited to take part in several mathematics and information sciences related activities, such as: a PAT (Practical Assessment Task) competition, a Mathematics Olympiad, a Robotics Challenge and interactive presentations by the Serious Games Institute of South Africa (SGI-SA). The latter includes mobile technologies as well as an app factory. Schools are invited to register as many learners for Geexpo as they see fit. Please note that the PAT Competition is for learners who are in Grade 10 – 12, whilst the Mathematics Olympiad is open for any learner from Grade 8 – 12. For more information please send an e-mail to jt.terblanche@nwu.ac.za or to sune.vanderlinde@nwu.ac.za