About ten years ago, robots were still seen as a thing of the future, something that we saw in movies such as I, Robot, or Bicentennial Man, which depicted a utopian or dystopian future where robots would live with us, side by side.

Well, this reality doesn’t seem as far off as before. As Hyperion Bots, one of three FLL (First Lego League) teams in an extramural robotics class that’s offered at Parklands College, are proving.

The Hyperion Bots were the only team from Parklands College to make it through to the FLL Open European Championship in Hungary, which they attended in May this year.

The team, which comprises of team members Jaime Strydom, Keagan Strydom, Mathew Mizrachi, Jade Bremner, and Christine Greig, won the 1st Place Gracious Professionalism award at the Championship.

Gracious Professionalism, a term trademarked by FIRST, is part of the company’s ethos that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

Each year, the league announces a challenge, based on a real-world STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) topic, which comprises three parts - the robot game, project and core values. This year the topic was hydrodynamics – a project that aims to improve the way that people source, transport, use and dispose of water.

The Hyperion Bots chose to focus on water purification and transportation, a very important issue in Cape Town at the moment!

So they worked with an already-existing invention – the Hippo Roller, used to transport large amounts of water across vast distances - and designed a filtration system for it, to ensure that people in impoverished areas have access to clean drinking water.

“What I love most about robotics is discovering new ways of solving things that you would never have thought of,” says Matthew Mizrachi.

While Keagan Strydom says he loves being able to use his mind to solve real-world problems and Jaime Strydom says she enjoys trying to make a change in the world and seeing what other teams come up with.

Robotics teaches important skills such as problem-solving and teamwork, as well as encouraging a different way of looking at the world. It is also an important aspect of STEM learning and an effective way of introducing programming to students, an invaluable skill for the workplace of the future.

In preparation for their trip, the team wanted to make sure that they represented a proudly South African united front, and what better way than to wear a pair of colourful VELDSKOEN™? So, each of the team members got a different colour of our shoes to represent our rainbow nation.

We are so proud and enthusiastic about young people trying to make a difference in the world and excited to have Hyperion Bots as part of the VELDSKOEN™ family!