Two South African Teenagers Invent A Robot That Fights Fire


Two South African students won the HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge – a competition for students established by Billionaire Businessman, Mark Shuttleworth in 2002 to promote the study of Maths, Science and Technology-related subjects.

Trevor Simelane, 16, and Joseph Mdluli, 17, both students from Mandlesive secondary school, Kanyamazane in Mpumalanga, South Africa won the competition with the prototype of a fire fighting robot they invented.
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They won the grand prize of $100 each, an iPad each and other mouth watering prizes.

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Speaking after winning the challenge, Simelane told reporters that they decided to tackle the problem of fires because it is one of the top three [problematic] issues in the country.


The robot is meant to detect people in the building and extinguish class A to F fires. It uses dry powder and wet chemicals to stop the fire instead of water.

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This robot can transform smoke from the fire into carbon dioxide, which then extinguished the fire. It must be controlled by a firefighter who is away from danger.

According to the judges, what impressed everyone present was the fact that the robot was made from readily available recycled materials.

Other young inventors who were present at the challenge and worthy of mentions are the Ledwaba sisters – Nomvula, 16, and Elizabeth, 15 who invented a solar bookcase that lights up desks for pupils without electricity.

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Hudson Mashaninga and Thokozani Mlauzi invented a backpack for storing litter, to prevent people from dropping litter in their environment in areas where there are no waste bins.

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