The World Robotic Olympiad (WRO) is a global event incorporating science, technology, education and robotics, will hold its South Africana finals at Vodacom rAge 2019 this year. WRO brings together young people from all over the world to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills through a challenging and educational robotics competition.
Since its inception in 2009, the WRO SA has grown from 30 teams to more than 800. This year, there have been 5 provincial events across the country, with the top 9 qualifying teams, who win the finals across the different categories, getting the chance to compete at the WRO international in Hungary.
The finals of the provincial events will be taking place over the course of the weekend at Vodacom rAge, from 27 to 29 September, at the Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg.
The global theme of WRO for 2019 is “Smart Cities”, and the public is invited to watch as the robotic creations come to life.
Friday afternoon will see the WRO SA National Explorer Competition teams coming out with some of the most interesting creations the WRO has seen to date. This category is not part of the international finals but is rather a category that allows juniors to be a part of this technological phenomenon. These teams are made up of outreach robotics learners who, with the help of WRO SA and the Department of Science and Technology, can potentially move up the ranks into the international finals. This category showcases age-appropriate challenges on tabletops in which teams design, build and program a Lego Mindstorms robot to solve a problem.
Over the course of Saturday, the WRO SA National Competition finals will see teams compete for honours in the advanced robotics categories. Winners over the categories have the chance to take their teams and all their tricks to the world final in Hungary.
The contest includes a football round-robin, where 10 teams of two robots play autonomous football against each other using an infra-red ball and seekers, plus a compass sensor.
Sunday will see the Corporate Inter-Company Challenge, when corporate teams can win prizes by programming a robot to solve various challenges on a competition table.
Depending on the challenge, spectators can watch from the bleachers or engage with the teams, get up close and personal with finalists, and get a good look at all the action as it’s happening.
“Being able to showcase the work that WRO SA is doing at an event like Vodacom rAge is extremely exciting for us,” says Danie Heymans of WRO SA. “Our teams are made up of coders and programmers who are immersed in the world of robotics – a category with a massive overlap into the world of gaming. A lot of these contestants are going to become a pivotal part of the future of gaming in SA and for them to have exposure across this platform is phenomenal.”
Dell plans 50/50 gender split; 1:1 recycling and reuse
Dell Technologies has unveiled an ambitious 2030 target for a social impact plan called Progress Made Real.
Dell Technologies has declared a decade of responsibility and innovation to ramp up the company’s social impact worldwide. At the company’s Dell Technologies Summit in Austin, Texas, last week, chairman and CEO Michael Dell unveiled a set of ambitious goals in a plan called 2030 Progress Made Real.
“Unlocking the power of data will advance humanity more than any other force over the next decade,” said Dell. “We are committed to making that power broadly available to communities around the world, so we can all move forward together.”
Over the next decade, he said, Dell Technologies will use its global scale, broad technology portfolio and expertise to yield meaningful and measurable impact on society and the planet.
The plan sets the following goals for the company:
· Recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buys
· Lead the circular economy with more than half of all product content being made from recycled or renewable material
· Use 100% recycled or renewable material in all packaging
· Deliver future-ready skills development for workers in their supply chain
· Drive a comprehensive science-based climate program, setting emissions goals across facilities, supply chain and operations to customer use of our products including partnering with suppliers to meet a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 60% per unit revenue by 2030
· Acquire, develop and retain women so they account for 50% of the company’s global workforce and 40% of global people managers
· Acquire, develop and retain black/African American and Hispanic team members so they account for 25% of the company’s U.S. workforce and 15% of U.S. people managers
· Educate 95% of all team members on an annual basis about unconscious bias, harassment, micro-aggressions and privilege
· Advance the health, education and economic opportunity of 1 billion people
· Digitally transform 1,000 nonprofit organisations
· Achieve 75% team member participation in charitable giving and volunteerism in communities
The company says ethics and privacy are foundational to its corporate and social impact strategies and are essential to executing the 2030 goals. To this end, it is fully automating data control processes, making it easier for customers to access, delete or share their personal data. The company will use digital tools to make it easier to get insights from, measure and monitor compliance issues using digital data.
In addition to seeking customer input, Dell Technologies engaged third parties, considered the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, and surveyed team members to assess the most critical issues and opportunities they see in their work and the world.
“We have a great responsibility to apply the full power of Dell Technologies to transform lives and society,” said Karen Quintos, chief customer officer at Dell Technologies. “By combining our technology portfolio, global scale, team member talent and customer partnerships, we can drive significant positive impact. Our 2030 agenda is comprehensive and deeply embedded across the business. The moonshot goals stretch us to go far beyond incremental change. In some cases, we’re still working to uncover how we’ll get there – but we know that significant change and innovation starts with deep commitment.”
In June 2019, Dell Technologies announced early completion of many of its 2020 goals. For example, through a global recycling network, it reached a 2020 goal of recycling 2-billion pounds of used electronics. Through partnerships with the Government of India and Tata Trusts, it deployed a cloud-based analytics solution to deliver preventive healthcare to remote villages, reaching 11 million people who would otherwise not have these services. A range of additional social impact goals have also been reached (see graphic below)
* For the full list of 2030 goals, see delltechnologies.com/2030goals.
Behind the scenes of Netflix SA’s Queen Sono
South Africa’s first Netflix Original TV show, Queen Sono, is almost ready to air. Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER spoke to the show’s creators on set.
In the heart of Johannesburg, a house is about to make history as one of the first homes to have a South African Netflix Original filmed inside. During filming, it’s surrounded by a dozen large trucks that carry props, camera equipment, set equipment and equipment needed to make this production a reality.
We chatted with Queen Sono’s writer, director, and showrunner, Kagiso Lediga, on set recently. He also heads up Diprente, the Johannesburg-based production company behind the show.
“[Being writer and director] gives one the ability to carry out the vision,” says Lediga. “I mean, it’s not just that I’m wearing many hats. But there’s the other creators, other HODs: from production designer to cinematographer, to the other writers that I work with. So it’s great, I guess that being a showrunner you kind of have to touch on all of those.
“It’s a huge responsibility in terms of carrying out the narrative. You know, sometimes what’s great is when you come up with an idea, and then when you see it when, either you’re sitting behind the monitor, directing, or while you’re sitting and editing, and you’re like ‘Whoa, that’s exactly how we imagined it’.”
The show is an action-packed series that follows Queen Sono, a highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life.
Of course, the gravity of being a Netflix Original means that Queen Sono will be put on a global stage, and will be available to stream in over 40 countries. We asked the show’s Director of Photography, Motheo Moeng, how the show’s image has been carefully crafted for a local and global audience.
“Overall, the treatment of the show is based on the characters we have written, naturally, and other spy films that we have looked at,” says Moeng. “So the treatment of her visually, and the look to the show visually, had that in mind. So as much as you wanted to treat it as an African show, we were well aware that it had to have international appeal.”
It’s also dangerous work getting the show to be perfect, Moeng says.
“It’s like being in a boxing ring, so there are days when you’re getting punched, there are days when you have to stand up and go. But overall, I guess the banter between myself and the first aiders is interesting. Our jobs are a direct contrast to each other; I’m trying to constantly light and make things look pretty, and he has to make sure we make the day, so if you stick around for long enough, you’ll see the love-hate relationship between us.”
Stunt Coordinators Grant Powell and Filip-Ciprian ‘Chip’ Florian have us a quick insight into how to get the actors (and film crew) ready for a spy movie’s action.
“[Most productions] have the same demands because they all have the same elements,” says Powell. “It doesn’t matter how big the movie, they’re still an actor. An actor still has to be trained. I still have to deal with the psychology of that. Convincing them that they can do it. So it really doesn’t matter the scale of the film, you’re still dealing with the same elements, which is training an actor from scratch sometimes.
“There was a combat scene with Queen Sono and the baddies, and she kicks one of them out the window, which is Chip by the way. So he goes through plate glass, goes over the balcony, three stories up and lands on a car. I thought that was cool. We had three weeks prep, which is great for a local show. You never get that, you’re usually learning on the day. That’s why the audience will instantly see the quality will be better because of this preparation. That’s what’s going to make this show stand out over and above anything that’s ever been done locally.”
Queen Sono is expected to be released exclusively on Netflix in 2020.