There’s nothing unusual about wirework model cars: roadside craftspeople and shops in tourism hotspot sell them by the beaded bucketload. How, then, to make yours stand out if you’re an enterprising young artisan today? Add a couple of motors, working steering and an Arduino Uno board with Bluetooth transceiver and you’ve got yourself a remote controlled car that may not be the fastest we’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly the most original.

Tshwane University of Technology students Isaac Hlengane and Solly Khoza built the car, and the coup de grace – or should that be coupe de grace? – is that you control it using a mobile phone app. Truly this is traditional artwork updated for the 21st Century. If only someone would hack robotics into one of those carved giraffes, or create a tweeting jacaranda wood salad bowl: surely it can’t be long?

We caught up with Khoza and Hlengane for a demo at Arduino Day in Pretoria last weekend. Here’s some of the other robots, hacks and students that were on display.

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.