Ro­botic mas­ter­minds off to world fi­nals in Thai­land

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO EDUCATION - Richard Springo­rum

FOUR Grantleigh School learn­ers will rep­re­sent team South Africa at the World Ro­bot­ics Olympiad in Chi­amg Mai, Thai­land, from 16 to 18 Novem­ber.

This after the young mas­ter­minds won their di­vi­sions at the World Ro­botic Olympiad KZN re­gional cham­pi­onships held in Salt Rock and the SA Cham­pi­onships held at the Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy ear­lier this year.

Grade 7 pupils Blake Mathieson (13) and Siya Mthethwa (13) paired up in Jan­uary and de­signed a ro­bot that com­peted in the ju­nior high school di­vi­sion (U15 age group), with Grade 6 learn­ers Luke Drum­mond (12) and An­dre van Wyk (12) team­ing up to com­pete in the ele­men­tary di­vi­sion (U13 age group).

Mathieson and Mthethwa’s task was called ‘Prepa­ra­tion Farm­ing’. Their ro­bot had to plant cer­tain trees in dif­fer­ent de­mar­cated ar­eas in un­der two min­utes.

Their ro­bot was de­signed to score a max­i­mum of 165 points out of a pos­si­ble 180. They scored 155 points at both the re­gional and na­tional cham­pi­onships.

‘We aimed for 165 points as it was enough to win the SA cham­pi­onships and place our team in the top half at the world cham­pi­onships,’ said Grantleigh ro­bot­ics teacher, Alan Lewis.

‘To de­sign and build a ro­bot to achieve the max­i­mum points, is far too in­tri­cate and the com­puter pro­gram­ming is far ad­vanced.’

Drum­mond and Van Wyk’s task was called ‘Food Wastage/Stor­age’ and the max­i­mum points for this di­vi­sion was 100.

The lads man­aged to score

100 points at the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships, as well as full marks at the na­tional cham­pi­onships, but earned an ad­di­tional five bonus points.

‘En­trants were pre­sented with a prob­lem that had to be sorted out us­ing cod­ing with­out the su­per­vi­sion of their teacher for an ad­di­tional five points,’ Lewis said.

‘Luke and An­dre were the only two in the coun­try to solve that is­sue and there­fore scored 105 points.’

Both pairs will con­tinue to mod­ify their ro­bots to en­sure strong chal­lenges at the world fi­nals.

This will be Drum­mond’s sec­ond world cham­pi­onship en­try after win­ning the SA Cham­pi­onships last year with a dif­fer­ent part­ner.

Grantleigh School’s Grade 7 learn­ers Blake Mathieson and Siya Mthethwa are rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at the World Ro­botic Olympiad fi­nals next month Richard Springo­rum

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