The Mphahlele twins. Image: AfricaFactsZone via Twitter
The Mphahlele twins want funding for their Digital XRay Goggles. Are they legit or classic examples of ‘fake it ’til you make it’?
The Mphahlele twins. Image: AfricaFactsZone via Twitter
Masego and Mahlogonolo Mphahlele, twins from Hammanskral township in Pretoria, made headlines after claiming to have invented, “Digital XRay Glasses”.
The girls were still 19 year old matriculants when they made the big claim.
A claim which is surprisingly believed by the worlds biggest energy drink company Red Bull. and also by female gaming influencer Tech Girl, who writes for Red Bull.
To be clear, I’m not surprised Tech Girl featured the twins, I’ve met her several times.
I regularly see her slurping up ‘Women in Tech’ stories for ESG browny points on her gaming website.
This is where I first discovered the twins..
ALSO READ: Twin sisters chosen to represent South Africa at the Red Bull Basement Global
I’m just surprised Red Bull of all companies, renowned for scouting real talent, actually takes these rookie chancers seriously.
Allow me to elaborate…
I am the first local journalist to cover the first Red Bull Basement Hatch, hosted at The Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg in 2018, for Red Bull’s own website.
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I saw amazing prototype demonstrations from tech inventors, who were all male at the time.
Red Bull Basement is basically a science expo, where technology entrepreneurs can show of their prototype gadgets, meet mentors in their respective technology fields and hopefully receive funding from deep pocketed investors.
Please keep the funding part in mind, will come back to it later in the article.
So surely, if the Mphahlele twins won the local Red Bull Basement competition, and travelled to Turkey for the world finals in 2021, they must be real.
They outsmarted medical professionals, billion Dollar tech giants, to invent a gadget qualified engineers and doctors have unsuccessfully tried to invent for decades, right?
If so, why isn’t there a single kilobyte of evidence anywhere online, even on Red Bull’s own websites, demonstrating a working Digital XRay Goggle prototype, no matter how glitchy?
I scoured the internet like a virtual Sherlock Holmes, searching for proof the princesses aren’t making spurious claims.
Unfortunately, the deeper I go down the Mphahlele rabbit hole, which is very shallow mind you, the more I realise these girls are amateur fraudsters.
What was that? How dare I compare these innocent angels to psychos?
Round up Hammanskraal’s angry village folk with pitchforks and torches, my family included, to burn me alive in their town square like Joan of Arc.
I’ll even give them a tire and paraffin to necklace me like an Apartheid impimpi (spy) for questioning their supposed child prodigies.
While preparing your witch trial, remember that much smarter and prettier women are getting away with way bigger scams in the biotechnology niche.
Prime example, 38 year old Elizabeth Ann Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, the biotechnology company she founded in Silicone Valley, USA.
Elizabth, a confirmed psycho and criminal, was evaluated at $9Billion in 2015 by Forbes, making her Americas youngest female billionaire.
By 2016, her net worth was valued at 0, and the conwoman was eventually convicted for fraud and sentenced to 11 years in prison on 3 January 2022.
This after her medical device, which she claimed produced blood test results in seconds, was discovered to be a 100% hoax!
But by then, Holmes, with her puppy blue eyes and fake deep voice ( she actually faked her deep voice so men could take her serious) had conned mainly older gullible men out of billions!
Just like the twins, Holmes wanted to ‘inspire young girls in science and tech’.
Just like Holmes, the Mphahlele twins dont care how their manipulative lies will effect the young girls they supposedly care about.
Now coming back to the funding I mentioned earlier.
If the Mphahlele’s are trying what I think they’re trying, receiving potentially millions worth of funding, people could die!
Imagine someone facing a life threatening health issue, but cant afford medical aid for an x-ray.
The patient sees these cute girls on media interviews and gets manipulated by some made up sob story or their bubbly personalities.
They donate the few pennies they have to their crowd sourcing campaign, only to find out it’s all a scam, and die a slow, agonising death, while the twins shop for handbags with the donations.
These twins are selling a cos play accessory as medical equipment to desperate people needing treatment, and nobody is threatening them with arrests!
As someone whose been in tech and gaming for years, their magical I mean Digital XRay Goggles, will work…
…In Disney sci-fi movies with strong female leads, where they probably got the idea from.
VR headsets have been struggling for decades, example; Nintendo Virtual Boy, released in 1995, discontinued in 1996.
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg tried cornering the VR headset market with the launch of the Metaverse in 2021.
A year later he lost $230 billion in one day!
Sure, a few VR headsets like PlayStation VR and Hitatchi VR are winning, but VR revenue is a drop in the ocean for these mega corporations.
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So why have VR headsets been struggling to blow?
Firstly, who wants to strap a TV screen to their face and risk going blind?
Also, motion sickness is a real thing with VR, ever tried Beat Saber for 1 hour straight? Make sure you have a paper bag to puke in.
Moreover, nobody wants to risk a tumour because of the full blast of electromagnetic radiation the brains frontal lobe will be absorbing!
Now lets hypothetically assume these goggles are usable in a medical environment.
Must surgeons switch batteries in the middle of an operation if they die?
How will it cool when it eventually overheats? Wont the heat create forehead perspiration?
What about its Bluetooth signals, wont they interrupt other medical equipment using radio transmitters?
Will the doctors’ hands also appear as bones, therefore confusing them during surgery?
Wait, does the device show bones, or organs like a cat scan?
Maybe the goggles switch between different light spectrums like the biomask in the Predator movies?
Has the South African Medical Research Council or World Health Organisation approved the goggles?
We must believe teens from dusty Hammanskraal, figured all this out by themselves, relatively overnight, without medical degrees?
When these fraudsters appeared on SABC News, and the reporter asked them to display their gizmo, they had nothing.
I’m not making this up! Click this link, fast forward to 1:50 and hear them saying “Uuuh, we forgot it”.
If you visit the Red Bull Global website and click on FINALISTS category, its hard to believe their over hyped welding goggles, which look exactly like the R50 welding goggles on Takealot.com, came second out of 44 contestants.
There is also no evidence proving these goggles have wiring to power an ‘ON’ light.
Interestingly, there were another pair of twin sisters from Brussels, Belgium.
These two claim to have an app called Find Your Pro which is “like Tinder” but for professionals to find mentors.
That definitely doesn’t sound like a rip off of LinkedIn does it?
These Belgians also lack a working demonstration, not even a screenshot.
Either Red Bull Basement has drastically lower standards, or most entrants also forgot their functional prototypes at home.
Nonetheless, Mahlogonolo and Masego, STOP LYING!