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A South African Robot Is Helping Teach The Next Generation Of Engineers

By Kelsey Marie

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A cute robot named MiiA has been designed by two Cape Town engineers with intentions to teach children about being an engineer.

According to Business Insider South Africa, children can program MiiA to drive, dance, and play ping-pong soccer.

Photo courtesy of RD9 Solutions
Photo courtesy of RD9 Solutions

Tyrone van Balla and his business partner, Ridhaa Benefeld, are the creators of MiiA and started building toy robots for fun when they were students.

After realizing their robots could have a positive impact on children who desire to become engineers, they started the company RD9 Solutions and developed MiiA.

Children from grades 8 to 11 are using MiiA as a source to learn the foundations of robotics as well as programming and electronics that go into it.

Van Balla tells Business Insider South Africa, “We make technology more accessible to the masses. We allow kids to be exposed and learn about programming from a very young age. We allow the innovators and game-changers of tomorrow to get a head start on their careers today.”


Although MiiA comes with the ability to walk, drive, dance, and avoid obstacles, children can program the “brain” to do pretty much anything.

There is a circuit board which has additional space for radio frequency transmitters, Bluetooth modules or audio modules which means you can use your smartphone to control its actions — like making the robot talk.

“I am passionate about teaching and empowering others. In five years, I see us expanding our offering not only across South Africa but also throughout Africa. I see us making a lasting contribution to the lives of the African youth through our work,” says Van Balla.

Currently, pilot projects with schools in Cape town have been launched by RD9 Solutions.

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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