As the gaming industry continues to expand into a multibillion-dollar industry—thanks to new innovations in computing and augmented reality, 26-year-old Silas Adekunle is taking over the robotics world with his ingenuity and innovation.
Adekunle in 2013, founded the UK-based Reach Robotics, with an aim to infuse gaming and augmented reality to perform functions for fun and STEM education. In 2017, MekaMon, the world’s first gaming robot was born.
Controlled with just a smartphone using an app for augmented reality gameplay, MekaMons—four-legged, spider-like robots—mix digital animations with the real world, and pack features that can turn the harmless looking robot into a gun slinging beast or enable multiple players battle each other. Each robot weighs a little over two pounds, with dimensions of 11.8 by 11.8 by 5.9 inches and can connect to each other via infrared signals and Bluetooth.
Adekunle has now become the highest paid robotics engineer in the world and has also been described as the smartest robotics engineer in the world.
“We’ve created an entirely new video gaming platform,” said Adekunle in a press release, published by Black Enterprise. “MekaMon straddles both the real and virtual worlds while taking the gaming experience beyond a player’s screen and turning their sitting room into a limitless robotic battle zone.
The robots are powered by a rechargeable battery that provides up to an hour of gameplay, and are compatible with the iPhone, using the smartphone’s camera and infrared tracking capability for precise navigation.
“MekaMon represents a quantum leap forward in the leveraging of augmented reality. Players can whip out their iPhone to battle their multi-functional, connected battlebots in the physical and virtual worlds at the same time.” the robotics genius concludes.
Adekunle was born and had some of his education in Nigeria before relocating to the UK when he was a teenager, proceeding after to the University of the West of England where he graduated with a first class in Robotics. He developed an early prototype of MekaMon back in the university which he called the “Mecha Monster” and pitched it to several organisations at the time. Not long after, he met Chris Beck and John Rees, robotics experts who joined the company as founders, helping it to make MekaMon more robust.
— Reach Robotics (@ReachRobotics) August 23, 2018
The initial launch of Mekamon sold 500 bots, generating $7.5 million, according to The Guardian. Following this feat, Adekunle received support from various organisations including London Venture Partners ($10 million) and in the same year, his company, Reach Robotics signed a deal with Apple, securing exclusive sales in Apple stores in 2017. According to some reports, this partnership with Apple makes Adekunle the world’s highest-paid robotics engineer.
He was also listed in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe: Technology where he notes that the secrets to his success are balance, shared ideas, time management and being one’s self.
MekaMon went live in all Apple Stores in the UK and the US from 16 November, both online and offline, with a price tag of $299.95.
“This is an exciting time for our company,” Adekunle had said. “As now after years of development work, we are finally able to bring MekaMon to customers across the UK and US and with plans to go global.”
Currently located at the Bristol Robotics Lab, which is said to be the best robotics research centre in the UK, Silas Adekunle is indeed impacting the robotics scene and the world at large, one MekaMon at a time.