For four consecutive years a team from DSS has managed to qualify for the National finals of the SAIMechE Technology Olympiad. In 2008 DSS won and in 2010 this feat was repeated.
The 2010 challenge read as follows:
Design and build a self-powered ball-shooter that can travel from the start area to the shooting area and shoot a tennis ball at the goals without human intervention. The power source of the ball-shooter may be mechanical, gravity, pneumatic, hydraulic or any combination of these. The ball-shooter is placed on the starting area, loaded with one tennis ball, energised and released into the playing field. The ball-shooter must then travel into the shooting area and fire a ball at the goal (the A3 box) without human intervention. The ball may not be fired inside the Penalty Area. Once the ball has been fired the ball-shooter may be picked up and placed in the starting area for a new cycle, however if the ball has deflected off one of the players (2 litre soft drink bottles) and rolled out of the playing area, then the team has the option to start the ball shooter from the point on the sideline where the ball left the playing field.
Following the Regional leg, which took place on 13 August 2010, two of the five teams from DSS were invited to participate in the National competition, which took place at Hilton College, Pietermaritzburg, on 25 September 2010. The teams were:
- Team Spain: Jonas Graf, Etienne Husslig and Wouter-Jan Mout,
- Team Spot-On: Jan Joosten and Stephan Stegen
The morning began by testing the teams’ ball-shooting machines. Team Spain managed to shoot 53 balls in five minutes, which was a tie for first position, together with a team from Menlopark, Pretoria.
This was followed by a surprise workshop, during which each team had to build a mouse trap driven lever car – the faster the car could cover a distance of 15 metres, the better the score the team achieved. Once, again Team Spain managed to perform the best.
In addition to the testing of their machines and the surprise workshop, each team was interviewed, and were required to submit a written report.
Then came the moment we were all waiting for. During the evening ceremony, the winning teams were announced, based on their performance during all the events. Team Spain from DSS won the overall competition and also won the prize for the best designed machine, as well as the winner of the surprise workshop. Their prize included the following:
- A laptop computer for each member
- A trip to visit engineering companies in South Africa
- A first year bursary to study mechanical engineering
To all those learners who have never entered for this event: see you at the 2011 Technology Olympiad workshop!
Mr D van Straten