RD9 Solutions
Photo RD9 Solutions.
  • A South African built robot called MiiA is helping to teach children to build robots.
  • It can do pretty much anything you set its mind to: driving, dancing and even playing ping-pong soccer.
  • The cute bug-eyed puzzle shaped MiiA teaches kids from grade 8 to 11 the foundations of robotics - concepts from electronics to programming.
  • What sets MiiA apart is a game style platform that teaches kids how to programme their own robot.

Two engineers from Cape Town have designed a cute, bug-eyed robot that can help teach children how to code and build their own. 

Children can programme the MiiA robots to drive, dance and even play ping-pong soccer.

RD9 Solutions
Photo RD9 Solutions.

MiiA is the brainchild of 26-year-old engineer Tyrone van Balla and his business partner, Ridhaa Benefeld, who as students started building toy robots in their spare time. 

Tyrone van Balla
Tyrone van Balla. Photo supplied.

They realised that their robots could be a powerful teaching tool, and started to develop the MiiA through their newly-created company RD9 Solutions

A small army of these robots are now helping kids from grade 8 to 11 to get first-hand knowledge about the the foundations of robotics - concepts from electronics to programming.

“We make technology more accessible to the masses. We allow kids to be exposed to 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,” said Van Balla.

The brain behind MiiA is an Arduino Microcontroller which is fully programmable.   The basic robot can walk, drive, dance and avoid obstacles, but kids can programme the "brain" to do virtually anything. 

It has a circuit board designed to be flexible and 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.


RD9 Solutions
Photo RD9 Solutions.


RD9 Solutions
Photo RD9 Solutions.

RD9 Solutions has launched pilot projects with a number of schools in Cape Town. 

“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 lives of the African youth through our work,” said Van Balla.

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