Meet Silas Adekunle, Nigeria’s wonder boy who developed an intelligent gaming robot
Silas is the founder of Reach Robotics. A company creating the gaming experience that straddles the virtual and real worlds. I bring to you Silas Adekunle, who is using robotics, gaming and augmented reality (AR) to develop the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.
Silas grew up in the ancient city of Ibadan. He relocated to Osogbo to further his studies in High school. He still speaks his native language and calls himself a Nigerian. Although he left for the UK, Silas studied Robotics Engineering at The University of the West of England (UWE).
When I visit my grandmother in Osogbo, I am fascinated by the insects and at some point, I go after them,” he recalls. I have always had an affinity for robotics, engineering and Biology. My passion is on these three multi-dimensional sectors and has led my life choices so far.
How the journey into Reach Robotics started
While in school, Silas taught sciences to young students. He found out that robotics could aid learning. He wrote to his school and got his first funding and support. Silas secured funding from UWE Bristol and the University also supported him with a lab. They paid grad students likewise himself to develop robots. Silas and his team would do demonstrations and teach students on how to create them. This served as an inspiration to thousands of other students. This happened during his undergraduate program.
Silas wanted the gaming experience different from the norm. He wanted to add more value to the gaming world. Silas founded Reach Robotics in 2014. His mission is to develop a game with robots operated by smartphones. To do so is by harnessing the same gaming/battle mechanism. But a different user experience approach with the aid of AR and robotics.
“This is the future of gaming,” Silas says. “We took robotics, AR and gaming combined to develop Mekamon”. Mekamon is the best next thing to happen in the gaming world. Since it allows users to play integral roles in the games they play. Last time I checked the first set of products made sold out in less than six months on distribution.
The birth of Reach Robotics
His first funding was from his school and so he ran his final year project alongside his startup idea. He got grants in the UK and later got funding from London Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Hardware Club, Iglobe Partners, Passion Capital and Techstars. But before that he had to work for a year. He knew his weakness and decided to get some form of exposure and training from the corporate world.
Reach robotics seems to understand what works. They operate a lean model of operation. Reducing the overhead cost to the barest minimum. They work out of the Robotics Innovation Facility in Bristol. With a team of about ten people, they have been able to develop Mekamon– their first finished product–. He had to move from the UK to the USA with six of his team members at some point. In a small apartment in SanDiego, young Silas housed his team to test his idea and get more funding.
Till date, Silas has more than 10 prototypes of Mekamon before the final launch. If there is anything I know about inventors, they never give up. They keep trying to make things better until they get it right. The first model of Mekamon was made from combustible plastic. And looking horrible with wires all around it. But he never gave up, he carried this prototype for months showing investors. Also, to his team members as the best new thing to happen. Believe in your dream and go after it!
You might argue that he made so much progress because he was out of the country. Yes, this is true but never water down the intent. He developed something so unique enough to get funding and get others to believe in his dreams. We should applaud his doggedness. If you are out there with an idea in mind. I am here to tell you it is possible if you know it is.
In Steve Jobs words;
Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Feature Video Credit: Reach Robotics