The SpringBots are raising the South Africa flag high in the robotics and STEM arena, all the while building international relationships.
South Africa (14 September 2021) – Team SpringBots South Africa is taking robotics to the future youth! The robotics team was established in 2018 and now represents SA on the international stage of all things STEM.
The team’s core mission is to provide equal access to education, skills and knowledge centred around STEM. STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We believe that we can make a difference and transform our country by empowering and uplifting communities and those in need. SpringBots is an NPO focused on uplifting the youth through STEM education.”
Each year the team participates in international robotics competitions, like the FIRST Global Challenge, learning new things about STEM and robotics.
“The FIRST Global Challenge is an annual Robotics competition that we participate in. With this year’s theme, “Discover and Recover”, the SpringBots were determined once again to tackle a problem that our country faces, by providing innovative solutions. Our team has worked tirelessly throughout this competition, from having daily meetings, spending hours gathering in-depth research, and even collaborating with other teams from overseas.
The journey and experience has been marvellous thus far, and we intend on only moving forward.”
The SpringBots, made up of eight bright young minds, has taken up the three challenges at the FIRST Global Challenge. Those challenges include:
1. Solutions Challenge
The Solutions Challenge is the main component of the season. It provides an exciting opportunity for teams to turn their STEM skills into a real-world application for the benefit of their countries. Under the theme of “Discover & Recover,” teams are tasked with identifying a pandemic-related problem in their community in the area of education, environment, health, or economy, and then creating a project to solve it using STEM within the span of the season.
2. Cubesat Prototype Challenge
For the CubeSat Prototype Challenge, teams define a mission of importance to their community. They then use a provided Arduino-based kit to create their own CubeSat prototypes to provide a tangible solution to that local need. Teams design, build, program, and test their CubeSat prototypes and then deploy them into the lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere. Detailed guidelines and educational resources are available to assist teams with this new technical component, as is the Global STEM Corps.
3. Robotic Challenge
The Robotics Challenge is an opportunity for students to reinforce their robot design, building, and programming skills. FIRST Global teams will use the components provided in a REV Robotics kit of parts to create solutions to four individual build tasks. Instead of assembling a single robot, teams will complete these four build tasks, representing major components often found on FIRST Global robots.
Throughout the challenge, the team has worked with key STEM stakeholders in South Africa and throughout the continent to bring their project to life. The aim is to build robotics hubs throughout South Africa to educate young minds about STEM education.
SpringBots have partnered with Team Brazil on this project and are working towards the solutions challenge together. The team was founded and is mentored by Mikhaeel Reddy and has support from mentors from Australia – Jeser Mross Becker and Daiane Cristina Rodrigues, from Brazil – Leo Denega. In South Africa, the team has received amazing support from mentors like Yoshlyn Naidoo, who volunteers his personal time to guide and mentor the team.
Discussions have taken place with key members from the Department of Science and Technology with key stakeholders Mr Bersan Lesch and Ms Koki Selepe. Great things are coming for the youth of South Africa, and the SpringBots will be right behind the drive to push STEM education to all students.
The biggest achievement that this team has accomplished through our STEM and Robotics journey is gaining international relationships with multiple STEM enthusiasts from all backgrounds of life and representing the immense talent offered by the African continent in the field of STEM.
“We understand that to achieve any goals set out we must learn, un-learn and re-learn any topic we encounter— by applying this thinking to the current challenges we face in the 21st century we believe that solutions are bound to be found.”
“We thank FIRST Global for once again allowing the youth around the world to unite through STEM and are proud to be a part of this global initiative.”