We often write about the growing trend of tech companies to make robots for the purposes of teaching the youth how to code. Today we’re doing that again, but this time telling the story of a local tech start-up doing this rather than some big international company. Because South Africans should also be learning about robotics, so why not have a local company that can help us get up to speed with where the world is going and ensure Africa is also prepared for our future robot overlords?
This new robot is called the MiiA and is the brainchild of RD9 Solutions (via Business Insider) who have designed this cut bug-eyed bot for the purpose of education. MiiA can drive, dance and even play soccer if you use the right tech code. In fact, give this project a few years and we may have a bunch of robots ready to replace our national soccer team and actually stand a chance of winning us more games in the future.
The brain behind MiiA is an Arduino Microcontroller which is fully programmable. The secret behind this robot though is its circuit board that is designed to be flexible and allows for its diverse range of movements. The actual unit design is lightweight and highly configurable, making it easy to adapt its configuration. It does look a little cheaper than most robots of this kind, but that is part of what makes it appealing to the local market as these devices will end up a lot cheaper to manufacture, though no retail price has been made available.
Along with its initial design and purpose though, the MiiA also has space for various additional sensors like radio frequency transmitters, Bluetooth modules, or audio modules – meaning you can make it talk or control it using your smartphone, should you choose to expand them further and open up the possibilities for what learners can do with them.
RD9 Solutions has launched its ambitious project at a number of schools in Cape Town, putting together a series of programmes to aid students in coming to grips with the concepts of programming and robotics. It’s a great initiative and hopefully, one which could be rolled out to more schools and provide an easier barrier of entry into these high-tech subjects.