Update: Robotics in South Africa

This post serves as an update to Robotics in South  Africa, and it is being written because the old post is becoming a bit tedious to read because of all the inserted updates I have added.

So here follows a few of the organisations that I have found in South Africa who are actively involved with robotics training, robotics competitions, research and support.  Click on the pictures of each organisation to go to their respective websites.

Robotics Association of South Africa
Founded by +Andre Hoffmann and +Mike Barker and its objective is to "galvanises and coordinates the efforts of the various Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research initiatives across South Africa" .

Robotics SA was featured in a previous post: Feature: Robotics Association of South Africa


CSIR - Mobile Intelligent Autonomous Systems
CSIR - our future through science
This division of the CSIR started operating in April 2007 and concentrates efforts in the fields of Science Engineering and Technology (SET) to promote intelligence in field robotics.  Systems they have developed or are working on are the Autonomous Mule, and Intelligent Manipulator and a Mining Safety Platform.

Read this article by +Mzimasi Gcukumana about "Mobile, Intelligent, Autonomous: Systems of the future" - an interview with Dr Ajith Gopal (interim head of MIAS at the time) and Johan Strydom.

Techno Kidz

Techno Kidz are focused on young (and old) kids (7 years old and up) who like building and programming and the learning of computer skills using LEGO robot building systems as the basis of their "Lifelong Play".  They aim to open up ideas for children to become engineers through the fun they had in building and programming with LEGO.

Hands on Tech
Hands On TechnologyHands on tech also uses Lego based Mindstorms for their training, and competes in the National Robot Olympiad and the World Robot Olympiad.  More about these competitions later.

Brainy Brix
Design and technology program for kids between the ages of 3 - 8 years old.  These guys are not so much about robotics, but use building blocks to get children to think about problem solving and design.

Details about Robot Science was covered in a previous post: Feature: RobotScience.  +Michael Ettershank and his team are in to +educational robots for young South AfricansClick  to their home page at roboscience.co.za/

+I-SET  (Inspired toward Science Engineering and Technology)
Inspired toward Science Engineering and Technology (I-SET)
is an initiative by the University of South Africa (UNISA), and they aim to reach out to disadvantaged children by having fun and learning about robotics in the process.  Read more about this program on UNISA's website: I-SET

Trophy Computers and Robotics
aims to "inspire kids, create learning opportunities, and enlighten inquisitive minds".  They do this  by introducing kids to the basic principles of mechanics and robotics from a very young age.  This equips these kids to make informed career choices by the time they get to grade 9.  Of course - like with all FLL participating clubs - they have fun while doing this.


FANUC South Africa
FANUC offers a world wide range of industrial robot solutions, CNC (computer numerical control) machines and associated equipment and Powermotion control systems.  The FANUC's facility is in Isando situated in the O.R. Thambo Airport industrial area.

Robotic Innovations
Robotic Innovations also offer robotic solutions in the form of robot welders, sheet-metal bending, cutting and trimming and other exciting solutions.  They are operating out of Irene in Centurion, Pretoria.

ABB South Africa

ABB Robotics is a world wide supplier of industrial solutions.  ABB has branches in Johannesburg, Durban, Kuruman, Milnerton, Nelspruit to name a few.

AutoCon Innovations
This company is spilt into Autocon Systems where they do all kinds of Industrial Automation and Control Systems.  Their operations are done from the Boksburg area.  The other part of the company, called Autocon Innovations, do Turn-key Automation solutions which includes Robotic automation amongst other things and they operate in the Rosslyn, Pretoria area.

Robotics competitions in South Africa

National and World Robot Olympiad
WRO 2013 is taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia and it brings together young people from all over the world, including South Africa.  At WRO competitors are challenged to develop creativity, problem solving and design skills through challenging and educational robot events.

World Robot Olympiad

FIRST Lego League South Africa

www.fllsa.orgwas first introduced in South Africa by Trophy Robotics (mentioned above) and is now being run by +Johannes De Vries ( +FIRST Lego League South Africa  )

Other posts on this blog that contain info about FLL SA:
FIRST Lego League South Africa 2013
FIRST Lego League: North Gauteng Regionals
FIRSTL Lego League Technical Coach training
Lego Robotics Training
Preparing for FLL and WRO in South Africa

FIRST Lego League South Africa 2013
FIRST Lego League 2013

RoboRace SA
In RoboRace contestants use standard RC (remote controlled) cars and convert them into line follower autonomous vehicles which must complete the twisted, crossing track in the shortest possible time.  The first South African competition took place in Cape Town in 2012.

Siemens Cyber Junkyard competition
I could not find much on the +Siemens website on this, and the articles I found on the internet were all from 2011and before.  If anyone has more recent info on this, please let me know.

The annual Conference of Robotics and Mechatronics, sponsored by the CSIR, University of Cape Town, University of Kwazulu-Natal (Host 2013) and the University of Johannesburg.

Read what other people are saying about Robotics in South Africa and abroad:

*  On the +SAP blog, Susan Galer posted that "Robotics Fun from Lego Promises Children in South Africa a Better Life" - go read it.  Susan seems to share the same sentiments as I do about Robotics.

*  Also see this post about "Robotics in South Africa" by +Mike Barker , co-founder of Robotics SA.

*  On Everyhting Robotic the question is aksed: "Do Industrial Robots Really Have A Positive Impact On Employment?"

+IEEE Spectrum reports that "Robots are not killing jobs"
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