Three boys from Jan Celliers Laerskool en Pre-Primêr, who are all in Grade 7 represented their school and South Africa at the 2018 Robofest World Championships at Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, United State of America.
Liam Byrne, Carl Swanepoel and Roux Marais achieved a third place in the Bottle Sumo category. The purpose of this category is to either be the first robot to deliberately push a bottle off the table or to be the last robot to remain on the table.
“It was fun to see what we were able to build and to see our robots in action. Some of the high school teams had such awesome robots. At times we felt a bit intimidated but at the same time, we felt privileged to be part of this event,” said Roux Marais.
Robofest, which has been in operation since 2000 has attracted more than 20 000 participants from the start of the competition’s inception. Teams from all over the world also participated, including USA, Canada, China, England, France, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Romania, Singapore and South Africa.
Robofest is a series of competitions with autonomous robots that encourage schoolchildren and students to have fun while learning the principles of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computer science.
Students design, construct and program the robots themselves and any robot-instrument bundling are allowed in the construction of the robots. Robots can also be programmed with any programming language. Teams are made up of a maximum of five members per team and participate in various categories in the primary, senior or tertiary departments.
Head of department for computer science at Jan Celliers, Fred van Zyl said proudly: “Our learners have worked hard and we are very proud of what they have accomplished. It is pleasing to us as teachers when we see what the students are able to produce. They succeeded in making theoretical knowledge and class skills practical by constructing impressive robots.”
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