Mpumalanga teens design prototype robot that helps extinguish fires

Mpumalanga teens design prototype robot that helps extinguish fires

- Joseph Mdluli and Trevor Simelane are high school learners in Mpumalanga

- They took part in the HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge in Johannesburg

- They won the Challenge with their prototype robot that helps to put out fires

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Two brilliant teenagers have developed a prototype robot that could significantly help firefighting efforts in South Africa and around the world.

17-year-old Joseph Mdluli and 16-year-old Trevor Simelane are Grade 9 and 10 learners at Mandlesive Secondary School in Mpumalanga, Sowetan reports.

Their prototype robot won the HIP2B² 3M Innovation Challenge held in Johannesburg yesterday, learned.

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The Challenge is the brainchild of billionaire Mark Shuttleworth. It encourages learners to develop ideas that solve societal problems.

Mdluli and Simelane said their innovation was inspired by the recent fire at Johannesburg's Lisbon City building in which three firefighters perished.

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Simelane said:

We decided to tackle the problem of fires because it is one of the top three issues in the country.

The prototype robot can be plugged into an electrical outlet for power and is remote-controlled. It can detect people in a burning building and lift objects.

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Simelane further explained:

It uses dry powder and wet chemicals to stop the fire instead of water. It can also take the smoke from the fire and turn it into carbon dioxide to extinguish fires.

This keeps firefighters away from immediate danger. The two talents said they hope their innovation would help advance firefighting techniques.

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