Congratulations to Luke Andrews from Cornwall Hill College in Irene. He won the Junior Gameplay category at the 2018 World Championship competition in Detroit Michigan. This is a fantastic achievement. We are very proud of you!
Welcome to Robofest South Africa
I have been involved with robotics for more than a decade. We started in South Africa in 2003 with the EARLY competition and in 2004 we also introduced FIRST LEGO League. For the next 6 years FLL was just about the only robotics competition available for learners in South Africa. In 2010 the WRO also became part of the SA robotics scene. In 2014 I decided that we need something different, a little bit more open, with less restrictions and more flexibility. That something turned out to be Robofest.
The immediate question is: Why another robotics competition for South Africa? The reason for me is very straight forward. All the other robotics competitions are meant for teams and are very specific about the type of robots that one may use. Robofest however allows for individuals to participate also and it is an open platform competition. Which means one can use any type of robot in the competition as well as any type of programming.
That fact that individuals can also participate makes it a lot easier for some children to do this. Some kids just don't function very well in teams, but have great skills. This competition allows to to showcase their skills as individuals.
The open platform part is also very cool because some kids like to create their own stuff, building robots with Raspberry Pi's or Arduino's or any other controller that they can lay their hands on. In the end it is all about how well these robots function and what one can do with it. Through the years of running robotics clubs and doing robotics competitions, this is one of the biggest complaints that I had to deal with. The question was always the same: "What about kids that don't want to work in teams." Well Robofest is the answer to that question. There is definitely a place for a competition like this in South Africa.
But it is not just about that. I've also had complaints from school teachers as to the type of programming language allowed for all the different competitions. they are very specific in what is allowed and what not. Robofest however is not that restrictive. One can use any programming language and suddenly it opens up a whole range of new possibilities for learners and teachers alike. So if your school is into JAVA programming, you are very welcome to use it to program your robot, even if it is a LEGO robot. As long as it is a robot it is also absolutely okay to use ny materials and any programming language. One cannot really ask for more freedom than this.
On the other hand, if you are one of those individuals who likes to work alone, who spend hours in a closed room, coming up with great new ideas. Robofest will provide you with a platform to showcase that great ideas. Come and try it, this may be just the thing for you!
We are not currently doing all the robofest competitions, but we hope to be able to do all the different categories in the future. For now however we do the exhibitions, the robot parade and the annual game.
Have fun building and programming your robot and I will be seeing you at the next competition.
Robofest World Championships
We already have a proud record in this competition as we had 2 teams visiting the Robofest world championship in 2014 in both the senior exhibition category as well as the junior exhibition category. The senior team went on to win the world championship and the junior team achieved a well deserved second place.
In 2015 the senior team repeat their performance and win the world championships again in the senior exhibition category. This year we also send a gameplay team to the world championship in Detriot Michigan. The team participated but had a little bit of a hard time with the robot.
In 2016 we were unable to attend the world championship due to some unforseen circumstances, but we are ready to do some great things again in 2017 and we trust that our teams are also ready to show their steel. However we had 1 team in the Visual Centric category that were able to solve the problem. We are very proud of that team and hope to see them again in 2017.
Since 2000, over 20,000 students have competed in Robofest, including teams from 13 US States, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, and South Africa.
Teams compete in the junior (grades 5-8), senior (grades 9-12), and college divisions.