VIDEO: Raging Robots contest inspires young tech minds

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 12 Dec 2023

The 2023 rAge Gaming Expo took place this past weekend in Johannesburg, highlighting the various elements of technology, gaming and coding.

The annual expo aims to provide a platform for a range of interests, including cosplay competitions, e-sports tournaments, coding initiatives and robot battle competitions.

This year, the expo hosted the Raging Robots competition run by local software development organisations Osiris Trading and Raging River.

Participants were tasked with designing and programming a bot using drag-and-drop code blocks − visual programming tools that allow users to build programs without needing to write traditional text-based code.

The contestants were also asked to monitor how different components affect their bot’s health, speed and damage, and compare their bots to one previously built by the Raging River team.

Ruan Terblanche, talent acquisition specialist at Osiris Trading, said the competition aimed to provide a fun way for participants to practise coding.

“Our goal is to drive talent and meet people who have a passion for software development and potentially present job opportunities to them. Osiris Trading and Raging River are always growing and looking for people that love coding, sports and learning,” Terblanche says.

Philip Mdhluli (right) won first place in the Raging Robots competition.
Philip Mdhluli (right) won first place in the Raging Robots competition.

The first prize went to Philip Mdhluli and his robot named Hyena_Lyrikal. Mdhluli won a Gigabyte RTX 4080 OC graphic card worth R32 000.

In second place was Aiden Kilian with his robot named Bumblebee. Kilian received a Corsair gaming chair worth R6 500. Third place went to Waldo le Roux and his robot BIGBOI, winning a mouse and keyboard from Corsair worth R3 500.

In collaboration with Care for Education, NAG presented “Unplugged Coding with Six Bricks”, a concept designed to provide children with an immersive introduction to computer science and robotics without relying on technology.

Attendees of all ages experienced this approach to teaching coding. Using Lego bricks, the participants learnt fundamental computer skills, fostering problem-solving abilities and creativity.

According to the organisers of the event, through this tactile and interactive method, Unplugged Coding transformed abstract coding concepts into a tangible, accessible learning experience for children, providing a solid foundation in computational thinking.