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Local robotics team’s journey to the world stage

April 2024 News

In the heart of Cape Town, a group of young visionaries aged 12 to 17 is making waves in the world of robotics. Known as Texpand, this team from Pinelands has not only dominated the First Tech Challenge (FTC) in South Africa, but has also earned international acclaim for its innovative approach to engineering and problem solving. Last year, the youngsters represented South Africa on the global stage, bringing home the prestigious Think Award.

Through its participation in FTC, Texpand has transformed robotics into a spectator sport, showcasing its skills in designing and programming robots to perform complex tasks. Of course, there is the competition element to be proud of. But more than that, Texpand is doing its bit to make STEM education accessible to all, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Texpand itself highlights this diversity, with team members consisting of kids from urban areas like Pinelands, Mitchell’s Plain, Claremont and Simonstown, and rural areas like Grabouw and Robertson.

The invitation to the upcoming World Championships in Houston is a recognition of excellence. The team convincingly won all its matches at both the Western Cape Regionals and South African Nationals. This included setting the highest score ever achieved in the history of the game in the country. Texpand also won both top-ranked awards: the Robot Game Winner and the Inspire Award. The Inspire Award is for the team that is outstanding in all the judged categories. These include engineering, innovation, industrial design, problem solving, business planning, and outreach initiatives.

Even though their robot is on par with some of the best robots in the world, they face a significant hurdle in preparing to compete in Houston: the cost of travel. This provides an excellent opportunity for companies to get on board and be profiled as investors in youth STEM skills development. Texpand already has an impactful STEM programme in place, sharing the success, knowledge and passion for the technology they get on the world stage to inspire and train young children from under-resourced communities.

Several of the team members come from families where these travel expenses are simply too much. This is where we can all play a part. By supporting Texpand, we are helping to invest in the future of technology education in the country. It comes down to giving these bright young minds the platform they deserve to shine on the world stage and, more importantly, to continue their work in inspiring the next generation of innovators.

So let us come together and help these young visionaries expand their horizons, and in turn transform the landscape of STEM education in the communities of South Africa. To help garner support for Texpand’s journey to the World Championships in Houston in April this year, a GoFundMe campaign page has been launched. Visit this link for more information: https://gofund.me/569fedb2.

Corporate sponsors can contact directly by emailing: [email protected].

For more information contact Texpand, +27 83 457 1081, [email protected], www.texpand.org.za




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