In the world of robotics, one name from quite unfamiliar territory is starting to stand out as a trailblazer. Silas Adekunle, hailing from Nigeria, is seeing his vision of democratized robotics coming to life.

Adekunle has carved a path that has brought his passion for robotics and innovation to the forefront. In turn, at only age 32, he’s helping thousands of underserved kids to realize their potential. Read this article to dive into his extraordinary mind and ethos as an inventor and entrepreneur, as he walks us through his robotics journey. Please note that the quotes attributed to Silas Adekunle in this article are snippets of an interview done with the famous Nigerian YouTuber, Tayo Aina, in 2022.

From Nigeria to the UK

His journey starts in Nigeria. By age seven or eight he already had a fascination with engineering and robotics which kind of foreshadowed set the stage for a remarkable career. His move to the United Kingdom at the age of 13 presented new opportunities, and it was sort of a mythical call. Robotics was like a passion he couldn’t ignore, and it was something that made him shine in other subjects as well.

“I was a child that was interested in engineering even back in Nigeria,” Silas recounted. “I worked in a Radio Shack where you repair radios and things like that, and I did that for a bit at a young age, maybe I was seven or eight.”

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Next, we dive into Adekunle’s entrepreneurship journey.

From Education to Entrepreneurship with Reach Robotics

Beyond his time in school, Silas Adekunle continued his journey into the field of robotics. He decided to close the knowledge gap between education and entrepreneurship while he was an undergraduate. As a result, his initial business, Reach Robotics, was founded.

“I started an after-school club where I was teaching robotics to young kids. I pitched to the University then got some funding. I pitched to Hewlett-Packard, and got some funding as well,” Silas shared. “The first business was me living my dream of building robots, bringing my wildest imagination to life.”

One of Reach Robotics’ standout products was the MekaMon, a unique combination of entertainment and education in the form of a robot. Mekamon’s vision is to be the future of robotics in education. This is where the democratization of robotics kicks off.

Silas Adekunle revealed the company’s approach: “Instead of trying to purely commercialize Reach Robotics, we’re now just purely focused on the education aspect. We closed the business in 2019, and the assets for the product itself were then acquired into Awari, which is a business that’s focused on education and developing the robotics infrastructure across Africa.”

A New Beginning in Robotics Education Through Awari

Awari, which means “to see” or “confide” in Yoruba, signifies a turning point in Silas Adekunle’s development. These days, the main objective is to empower African youth through the use of robotics as an educational tool. The company’s main goal is to make robotics education interesting and accessible to everyone, which is something that is a unique milestone even for other robotics inventors.

It’s not that Silas is the first to make a robot in the world, and there are many brilliant robotics engineers. However, Silas Adekunle is making robots accessible to cools for a very fair price. Even though most can’t afford it, he’s partnered up with some major organizations to ensure that kids especially in his homeland of Nigeria are finally getting to not just play with, but learn the designware of robots.

The passion Silas exudes is evident in his vision for Awari. “The goal for us is, how can we make this the robotics education platform across Africa so that young people are not disadvantaged because of their location?” he said. The company’s innovative approach, including user-friendly programming that allows children to easily draw commands, has made robotics more accessible than ever.

The MekaMon Revolution

The MekaMon is among Silas Adekunle’s most important contributions to the field of robotics education. MekaMon is a four-legged robot with exceptional build quality, lifelike movement, and a distinct personality. By utilizing cutting-edge robotics and the ReachEdu app, it provides students with an unmatched STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education experience.

MekaMon combines a few different elements to ensure that kids and learners can get a well-rounded approach to learning robotics.

Gamified Approach of Learning Through Play

MekaMon takes a play-based approach to teaching. Using gamification strategies, the ReachEdu missions that go along with MekaMon have been designed to reward and challenge students in ways that promote original problem-solving and a deeper understanding of coding concepts.

With the help of guided missions and multiple flexible learning modes offered by the ReachEdu app, learning can be made not only educational but entertaining as well.

Reach prides itself on bringing the world’s first gaming robots that combine play with a proper STEM education. Learning through play is an important part of the Reach experience.

Freedrive and MekaDraw

MekaMon uses Freedrive to let students investigate its features. Students control both the robot and the code by using a tablet interface with the robot which is also connected to the greater reach system. Students can learn how to maneuver the robot through obstacle courses, testing the movement of the robot across different terrain.

With the help of this feature, students can adjust MekaMon’s movement and style. Their ability to test MekaMon on various terrains and maneuver around obstacle courses offers unmatched flexibility in cross-curricular application.

MekaDraw provides an alternative method of learning in addition to Freedrive. Students can make MekaMon follow a path by drawing a line across the screen. At different points during the robot’s journey, MekaMon can be animated and have its head color changed. This feature is an approachable starting point for learning about robotics and coding, as well as a visual introduction to fundamental coding concepts.

MekaMotion and MekaCode

MekaMon’s MekaMotion feature empowers learners to design their animations using a stop-motion animation studio. This advanced feature enables each MekaMon limb to be moved independently into position, allowing students to build a series of movement commands and explore their creativity. A learner can trace a line across the screen and the Mekamon will follow. Each limb can be moved separately through the draw interface thus making the movements of the robot limbs as realistic as possible.

For those who want to dive into coding, MekaCode provides a block coding environment based on scratch. Through an approachable programming suite, it enables students to interact with more advanced coding concepts. MekaMon’s sensors and movement can be fully utilized by students by providing them with access to a variety of input and output commands.

Pioneering the Future of Education Through Edu360 and Awarri

Silas Adekunle’s journey also led to the establishment of the Edu360 and Awarri partnership, a transformative initiative designed to prepare young people for the challenges of the future. Awarri, an indigenous artificial intelligence company founded by Adekunle, is dedicated to inspiring, entertaining, and educating in the pursuit of a fairer and more equitable world.

The partnership between Edu360 and Awarri integrates 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence into school curricula. Through teacher training and a Robotics challenge, the program aims to ignite a new era of possibilities with robotics. This initiative seeks to empower students to create technological solutions for some of Africa’s most significant challenges.

Notably, the partnership provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 40 young minds, aged 11 to 16, to learn about robotics through the use of tools and resources such as tablets, MekaMon, online virtual classes, and on-site learning experiences. This program is available to children who have UnionLegend or UnionInfinity accounts.

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Transforming Education Through Robotics

Silas Adekunle’s journey from a Nigerian child with a passion for robotics to an entrepreneur at the forefront of robotics education in Africa is nothing short of inspirational and impactful. Most Africans who get the opportunity to go abroad and further their studies often get comfortable with making a good living and forget all about sowing back into the continent. Adekinle’s mission to empower African youth with cutting-edge technology is a testament to the untapped potential of the continent and the power of what a willing mind can do to change the status quo.

“I’m very passionate about where I’m from, about Africa, about seeing that we can do something, that we can do something special,”. Also quoting he says, “We’re starting to put the pieces together, but if you want to have the true impact that we all talk about and the true mission, it’s going to take some time.”

Final Thoughts

Silas Adekunle’s journey in shaping the future of education through robotics illustrates the limitless potential of African innovation and the power of technology to bring about meaningful change. MekaMon, with its innovative approach to STEAM education, exemplifies the transformative power of robotics in education.

Silas Adekunle’s solid pursuit of robotics education as a means of empowering the next generation demonstrates the power of innovative technology and education to effect positive change. As an embodiment of this vision, the MekaMon is poised to transform the way students study and interact with robotics and coding.