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iSmile – The Tech Report: 8-12 July

MONDAY (8 July)

The Mother City of digital innovation…

That’s what we are about to become, as our city bosses strive to give all Capetonians cheap, if not completely free internet access. And not just any old, painfully slow access either! We’re talking high speed broadband here! It started when the city decided to connect all its different municipal offices with fibre optic cable.

Mayoral Commitee Member for Corporate Services Dimitri Qually says this will mean that you’ll be able to make just about any inquiry from any municipal office nearest to you, because staff will be able to access the central database remotely and quickly.

Qually says the city’s bandwidth project has had a fantastic and unexpected side-affect in that they created extra capacity; and this is where ordinary Capetonians are going to benefit more broadly. They plan to make this extra capacity available to bandwidth suppliers and entrepreneurs to sell on to us.

And this means we could see fast and cheap downloads … and possibly even free surfing. The city already provides limited free internet access at some of its libraries. But Qually says this project means that a student with a smart phone, tablet, laptop or any device that can go online – will be able to access the CITY’S WiFi for research or entertainment, while at home…

How cool is that hey!? You’ll also be able remain online as you move through the city. And that means listening to t your favourite radio stream online, without the irritating buffering.

TUESDAY (9 July)

If you haven’t really heard about or bothered to understand 3D printing before then may I suggest that you sit down and wrap your head around what’s being called “OUR PRINTABLE FUTURE!”

And once you understand the implications of this … it will blow your mind too.

Brie Pedis runs what is probably the world’s only 3D printing shop in New York City. But we’ll get back to the fun aspect of 3D printing a bit later.

Firstly, let’s dispel a common misunderstanding that 3D printing allows you to merely print an image on an existing 3D item. In fact, what it is is the actual making of the item itself – right there in front of your eyes, using a variety of material, but mostly plastic.

Some clever folks have already printed simple car parts. Students in New York have printed food, while a professor is planning to print an entire house. Another has used her 3D pregnancy scan to print a real model of her unborn baby

On a lighter note, you can now buy one of these printers that uses Play-Doh as ink. This means your kids can get creative and come up with anything their imaginations can conceive and watch it come to reality right in front of their eyes.

The potential of 3D printers are endless.


It’s Thursday and iSmile likes to use this day to look at what’s new in in gaming.

Well, a boy from Lesotho is hopefully about to take the online gaming world by storm with a digital version of a game that has been played in the fields of the Eastern Cape for centuries.

Tsitso Tlali grew up playing Morabaraba. Years later, while studying towards his Applied Mathematics degree at Stellenbosch University, he decided that the world needed to share his love for this cow herder’s game… and so he wrote the code.

Tsitsio wasn’t available to talk to iSmile, so we are talking to Saberi Marais – a business developer at Stellenbosch University’s technology transfer company InnovUS. He says Tsitso approached them to refine the game and help him market it globally and of course also make sure that the royalties go where they belong.

The game, which is called MRBRB is a mobile platform game which they hope will be played on all mobile devices. It is still going through some final developmental stages, but already it’s showing great promise.

THURSDAY (11 July)

With the advent and rapid spread of the APP, there is now hopes of it being employed a lot more smartly.

These days there is an APP for just about anything.

In recent weeks, a number of APPs have been launched overseas that allow students access to free university classes, books and virtual campuses. Locally, a company called The Training Room Online designs and develops e-learning material for the corporate, industrial and private sectors.

The company’s Cheryl Muir says education is possibly THE best application for an APP. She says South Africa is still lagging behind in this area, but notes that it could make life a whole lot easier for students, especially adult students

Because APPs are portable, it means that you’d be able to study just about anywhere, anytime! APP classes could be available at a time that suits the student, for instance while travelling on the train or bus, on their way to work, or over a lunch hour. Then of course there are the much needed … AND dreaded assessments!

FRIDAY (12 July)

Its Friday, so iSmile focuses on transport related tech and entrepreneurship and today we’re lucky to have something innovative in BOTH those areas.

First tech and in Germany, some train commuters resting their heads against the window panes, have been surprised to be able to hear an advertisement that no one else could hear. Turns out it was a prototype ad that uses high frequency vibrations. By resting their heads, the ad could play straight into their inner ear by means of bone conduction. Clever or freaky!? You decide. Either way, the Germans plan to take it national and believe it can be used beyond advertising for music, entertainment, weather and transport information.

Train tardiness has become just such meat for a local company that has made it into a lucrative business. So promising is the future of GoMetro, CNN has named the company one of Africa s top ten start-ups to watch.

GoMetro founder Justin Coetzee says they simply make sure that their APP keeps train commuters as up to date as possible.

GoMetro is one of those very simple ideas that makes you wonder why no one had thought of it sooner. And it again highlights the fallacy that ALL good ideas have already been thought of. Justin says they are now seriously looking at global domination. Right now the GoMetro APP is only available for BlackBerry and Nokia phones, but Justin says an Android version is coming soon. Plus their mobi site is user-friendly and highly accessible from other devices.

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