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Poly hosts Robotic Challenge

News   Hazviperi Mbizi   December 18, 2019
PIC: Organisers pose with the participants during the event
The Polytechnic Design Studio in collaboration with the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) on November 27th 2019 conducted a Robotic Challenge among Secondary school and University students under the theme; Igniting the power of science.

The function was piloted during the NEF signature program called the Africa Science Week, which is an annual five-day celebration of Science, technology and innovation designed for many age groups.

The Polytechnic Design Studio Manager Hilary Lodzanyama explained that the aim is to promote the discovery and advancement of science and technology, to acknowledge the contributions of scientists, provoke an interest in scientific pursuits and give students practical knowledge.

Lodzanyama further stated that the event helps Secondary School and College students to learn about theory of Robotics since it also comprises of practical sessions of building simple Robots.

It hosted students from Joyce Banda Foundation, Chichiri and Zingwangwa Secondary schools, Hilltop Academy, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Chancellor College and Polytechnic.

The function covered both hardware and software. Some of the activities included building of a Mobile Robotic Arm, Artificial Intelligent based Smart Robotic Crawler, a Quadcopter and a session on 3D printing.

“During the function, Polytechnic students like Yusuf Chimole and Sam Masikini made presentations and demonstrations on their experience and knowledge in robotics,” Lodzanyama said.

Chimole explained that there were two challenges given to the participants after the function to assess them, one for Secondary school students and the other one for university students.

“Secondary school challenge was to assemble a small robot that automatically follows a line path, while University students, had to assemble and program the robot so that they can be controlled remotely,” he explained.

One of the Engineering lecturers Stanley Mbewe who was also one of the judges at the event explained that this program is similar to the First Global Robotics, which happens annually where first year Engineering and IT students participate.

"We are transferring the design and programming skills to secondary school students to help them achieve technological based solutions to our problems from a young age,” Mbewe said.

The NEF Africa’s current ambassador Chikondi Shaba whose term has come to an end was part of the organizing committee of various events during the African Science Week together with incumbent ambassador Yusuf Chimole.

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