Well it is finally here. The event we at the SAIMC, and hopefully many of you, have been anxiously waiting for over the past 12-18 months. The inaugural Africa Automation Fair (AAF) opens its doors on 5 May and I hope all of you have already registered to attend what promises to be the biggest Automation and Control Fair in the southern hemisphere!
As most of you are aware, the SAIMC is passionate about introducing the youth to our world of automation and control. Hence the AAF is even more exciting for us this year, as we have almost half of the area (2000 square metres) in the Coca-Cola Dome dedicated to young people. Children from ages 6 to 18 years will be participating in the FIRST Open Africa Championship, which will consist of three competitions.
Junior FIRST Lego League (Jr.FLL)
Jr.FLL captures young children’s inherent curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult coaches, teams use Lego bricks to build a model that moves and develop a ‘Show-me’ poster to illustrate their journey. Children aged 6 to 9 get to:
• Design and build a challenge-related model using Lego components.
• Create a Show-me poster and practice their presentation skills.
• Explore challenges facing today’s scientists.
• Discover real-world math and science.
• Begin developing teamwork skills.
• Choose to participate in events and celebrations.
• Engage in team activities guided by Jr.FLL core values.
FIRST Lego League (FLL)
In (FLL), children are immersed in real-world science and technology challenges. Teams design their own solution to a current scientific question or problem and build autonomous Lego robots that perform a series of missions. Through their participation, children develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society. Children aged 9 to 16 get to:
• Create innovative solutions for challenges facing today’s scientists as part of their research project.
• Strategise, design, build, program, and test a robot using Lego Mindstorms technology.
• Apply real-world math and science concepts.
• Develop employment and life skills including critical thinking, time management, collaboration, and communication while becoming more self-confident.
• Become involved in their local and global community.
• Choose to participate in official tournaments and local events.
• Qualify for an invitation to the World Festival.
• Engage in team activities guided by FLL core values.
FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)
(FTC) is designed for high school students who want to compete head to head using a sports model. Teams of up to 10 students are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete on a 12 X 12 foot field in an Alliance format against other teams. Robots are built on a reusable Tetrix platform using a variety of languages. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. Students get to:
• Design, build, and program robots.
• Apply real-world math and science concepts.
• Develop problem-solving, organisational, and team-building skills.
• Compete and cooperate in alliances at tournaments.
• Earn a place in the World Championship.
• Qualify for over $11 million in college scholarships.
See http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms for more information.
So as you can see this is going to be a very exciting event and we would like to encourage all readers to bring their children to the AAF, to be part of the experience. Also, please also encourage your friends and family who may not be part our industry to attend and bring along their children. The organisers have advised that they would welcome these future engineers and their parents.
The SAIMC will have a large presence at the show again this year. Our PR team led by Jane van der Spuy and ably assisted by Ina and Johan Maartens have ensured that we have a fantastic, inviting stand. Thank you all for your hard work! All readers are invited to visit us for a chat and some interesting networking opportunities.
Whilst the PR team was working hard on the stand, the rest of council was strategising to reprioritise our activities for 2015 with the limited human and financial resources at our disposal. We have decided that the following sub-committees will be the focus for this year:
• Member value proposition.
• Education and training.
• Standards committee.
• Awards committee.
We encourage members at the various branches to join these subcommittees and make a huge difference to the industry.
Once again this month I wish to remind all that our Industry Calendar http://saimc.co.za/events-calendar/ has been populated with our SAIMC events for 2015. Please send your updates to email@example.com.
As usual, please mail me your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org. I thank you all for taking the time to read this column. See you all at AAF 2015!
Working together, achieving more,
Vinesh Maharaj, President.
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