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Surprise SA medalist in World Robot Olympiad

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Meridian Cosmo City (MCC), a school in a mixed housing suburb north of JHB, was the winner of a silver medal in the Senior High School open category at the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) national finals held in Pretoria this month.

MCC is managed by JSE-listed independent education provider Curro Holdings, which saw sister school Curro Grantleigh take a gold medal in the Senior High School regular category. Grantleigh will be travelling to New Delhi, India, in November to compete in the WRO world finals, along with

The WRO is a non-profit organisation founded in 2004, comprising more than 50 member countries, and involving more than 20 000 teams competing in the challenges each year. The 2016 “Rap the Scrap” theme is focused on recycling, which calls for contestants to build robots that can reduce, manage, and recycle waste. Participants built their robots using Lego components.

The Natal-based Curro Grantleigh team comprises Bonga Gumbi and Dominique Spies, who had to make a robot that picks up sorted waste into recycling containers at a recycling plant. The robot had two minutes to complete the challenge and the team had to ensure the robot did not damage the recycling containers.

“I had a team that went to Qatar last year. This year I have a senior team qualifying for the world finals in Dehli,” said Alan Lewis, a robotics teacher at Curro Grantleigh.

Spies’ 15 year old grade 9 teammate, Gumbi, said one of the challenges they faced at the WRO was the surface of the mats on which the robot was operating – it was were different to the ones from school.

“We changed the program a bit and we succeeded,” said Gumbi.

Meridian Cosmo City participated for the first time in the WRO. The team, made up of grade 6 learners Tshimologo Mafokosho and Rethabile Moeketsi, built a robot called “Mrs Kling”, designed to clean littered caves. As some of the cave areas are too tight and inaccessible for humans, Mrs Kling has been built to collect litter and rubble in spaces that cannot accommodate humans.

“I am very happy with the achievement. This is just the best moment so far,” said Mafokosho, while Moeketsi insisted it wouldn’t end there: “Next year we will continue.”

The two also had the recent privilege of testing their robot at the Rising Star cave system where human ancestor Homo Naledi was discovered. Mafokosho and Moeketsi’s project was judged second to an electronic bin designed by Greenside Primary School. Greesnide also won the Junior Primary open category.

Parklands was the big winner, taking the gold medal in the Primary School regular category and the Senior High School open category. Redhill earned a silver medal in both the Junior High School and Senior High School regular categories.

Meridian Cosmo City Primary School operational head Swarts Sibanyoni said his school would have sent more than just one team to compete in the World Robot Olympiad if it had more robotics components.

Tony Williams, Curro’s project manager of IT and Robotics, said robotics had been taught as a subject from Grades R to 6 at Curro schools since 2011. It has led to annual Robotics Competitions which encourage Curro learners to explore the world of coding in a fun and rewarding way, and in a manner that provides an interactive learning platform and creates excitement in the classroom.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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