A 27-year-old credited for building the world’s first gaming robot has become the highest paid robotic engineer in the world.
Silas Adekunle was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the UK when he was 11.He spent much of his childhood obsessed with science and technology, playing with Lego robot kits and watching YouTube videos to get ideas for simple robots he could build himself at home.
Adekunle, who built his first robot when he was 9, said he still remembers the first time he did.
“The first robot, if you can call it that, was basically this motor with two batteries stuck to the side,” he said.
“It would kind of buzz around and shake around, and I would add little steering legs to it, to get it to move in a certain direction. So, I learnt a little from there.”
Named as “Someone to Watch” by the Black Hedge Fund Group in 2018, Adekunle is the CEO and founder of a robotics company, Reach Robotics, which has raised £8 million in funding.
After his family moved to the UK, Adekunle continued to show an interest in technology, even getting into trouble at school by trying to hack into school computers to get around internet filter software that kept students from playing games online.
When Adekunle went to college, he knew he wanted to focus on robotics, and even started working on a prototype while still in his college dorm in Bristol, UK.
The first class honours graduate has also impressed Apple executives so much, that the tech giant signed an exclusive distribution deal with his company in 2017. Apple now sells the robots at $250.
Called MekaMon, Reach Robotics first unveiled it in 2016. Adekunle, describes the product as a “battlebot” that uses augmented reality technology to allow gamers and robotics enthusiasts alike to play around with the device in both the real and virtual world.
The company produced a limited run of 500 units last year that sold out during that holiday season.
“It was great to see our product in consumers’ hands and for them to actually write in feedback,” Adekunle said.
The MekaMon, which is compatible with both iOS and Android-supported devices, can be controlled with a smartphone or tablet. Connecting the MekaMon to a smart device via bluetooth and opening a free-to-download, MekaMon app also unlocks a world of virtual gameplay where your robot can do virtual battle in your actual living room.
Adekunle says that he is focused on continuing to expand the reach of his robotic creation. His primary goal at the moment, is to get the product out into as many hands as possible to ‘share the magic’ that they are building.