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Friday, September 18, 2020
16.1 C

    Springbots off to Mexico City

    “We don’t know if we can build a better world for our children, but we know we can build better children for our world".

    A small remark made by First Global Founder, Dean Kamen at the Abundance 360 Conference in Los Angeles earlier this year, moved local businessman Jason English (CEO of CG-Holdings) to sponsor the SpringBots to the First Global Robotics Olympics in Mexico City. The Challenge will take place from August 15-18, 2018 at the Arena Ciudad de México.
    Dean said to Jason that there were a number of teams from Africa competing from the 180 countries, but none from South Africa. “I just could not understand how South Africa was not represented when countries across our borders were,” said Jason to the Bulletin, “We just had to have a team from South Africa represented!”
    In 2017, FIRST Global held the 1st Robotics Inaugural Olympics in Washington DC. Themed around the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by National Academies of Engineering, each year a different Grand Challenge takes centre stage in an effort to foster understanding and cooperation among the youth of the world as they use their abilities to solve the world’s problems. The challenges we face as a global society need to be solved, and the next generation can meet the task — together.
    The 2017 challenge hosted over 157 countries from around the globe making it the largest Robotics challenge in the world. The theme for 2017 focused on “H20 Flow”. Each year the challenge is held in a different country.
    For 2018 the challenge will be held in Mexico City, with the theme “Energy Impact”. From commonly used fossil fuels to environmentally-friendly resources like solar and wind, energy is a tool that powers the different parts of our world one way or another. The 2018 Challenge is set to explore the impact of the different types of energy the world uses today, and how the world can make them more sustainable
    A group of 4 young, highly talented students, supported by 1 Team Coach and a Team Manager have been put together to represent South Africa at this year’s Olympics. The team is tasked to design and build a robot that will simulate activities on an energy field as per the prescribed game plan.
    The mission of FIRST Global is to inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people from all nations in order to increase understanding, impress the importance of cultural cooperation, address the world’s most pressing issues, and improve quality of life for all.
    PROMMAC and New Age Engineering are both local businesses in which CG Holdings is invested, and provide mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and welding services. The trio is the main sponsor behind the SpringBots together with Vodacom.
    According to Dany De Barros (CEO of Prommac), “We are an innovative company. Supporting the SpringBots was a no-brainer. We have a legacy of supporting communities and worthy causes and this initiative by our parent company CG Holdings goes a long way towards building the future engineers of our world. Education is the way to a better future and supporting the SpringBots is just another way we can make a small difference to society”
    Joseph Zinyane (CEO of New-Age Engineering) concurred, “We expect that the future of manufacturing will be heavily disrupted by robotics and artificial intelligence, and as a group, we are constantly striving to lead the way in innovative solutions for our clients. Sponsoring the SpringBots is simply another way we can contribute towards placing SA Youth on the international map and breaking the stigma that Silicon Valley is the only place where innovation happens”
    Team South Africa
    In 2017, South Africa placed 77th out of 157 countries in the Robotic Olympics in Washington DC. Strong relationships and networks were formed across the globe with other students, so much so that Team Australia paid a visit to team South Africa in June 2018 to give the team some valuable advice and support in terms of building their robot for this year’s Olympics.
    Since announcing the sponsorship of the team in March 2018, Prommac and New Age have funded the entire process and have assisted in building unbelievable partnerships with schools, universities, educators, parents and innovation specialists.
    According to Jason English, “we have taken on the challenge to help grow STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in South Africa through establishing robotic clubs as an after mural activity in schools. The team is under the mentorship of Wernich van Staden, an educator at Hoërskool Uitsig and is managed by Roxanne Reddy who is both making incredible progress with the team.”
    Roxanne Reddy stated that “Our team is made up of 4 kids who call themselves, “The SpringBots”. These kids come from various backgrounds as well as disadvantaged schools and underprivileged communities. Each has a passion and desire to make a positive impact within their communities as well as globally and all want to be future Engineers. We are delighted by the partnership the CG Group has given us, and without them, we would not have been able to participate in this year’s Olympics. We had numerous challenges in terms of getting space to build a mock field setup, and Jason through his network managed to secure Vodacom as a partner who then gave us a facility at Vodaworld to practice. This has helped the team prepare well for the event.”
    The team members include:
    Masana Phumudzo Mashapha is a grade 10 learner at Pretoria Girls High.
    Tshenolo Mokwana is a grade 11 learner at Olievenhoutbos Secondary School.
    Barbara Moagi is a grade 12 learner at Hoërskool Uitsig, head girl and also the Team Spokesperson.
    Mikhaeel Reddy is a grade 12 learner at Hoërskool Uitsig, head boy and also the Team Captain.
    When asked what it was about the robotics challenge that interests him, Jason concluded “We don’t know if we can build a better world for our children, but we know we can build better children for our world. As First Global rightly states – This is not about robotics, this about lessons in humility, lessons in collaboration, lessons in problem-solving and the robot is simply the vehicle that brings everyone together. We are delighted to be part of their journey and look forward to their participation regardless of the outcome.”
    The Bulletin and the local community would like to wish the team good luck in Mexico

    Springbots off to Mexico City