Silas Adekunle had no idea what he was gettin’ himself into.
The 25-year-old British-Nigerian entrepreneur met with senior executives at Apple in a San Francisco Four Seasons Hotel to showcase what he and his staff of 9 had been working tirelessly on — a four-legged “battle-bot.”
Society’s fascination with robotics is on par with with advancements we’ve been able to make in the field. But when Silas entered the game, he wanted to make his mark in a different way.
As opposed to making bots “clunky” or with mouths, which he stated “scared” users away, he wanted to leave the face animations to us — the humans.
“When I went into robotics I really loved motion,” Adekunle told Forbes. “People are used to clunky robots, and when you make it appear to be realistic, people either love it or they’re freaked out.”
The scheduled 15-minute chat that went on for more than an hour and included racing the spider-like bot across the floor and making it perform very personable traits: like bowing and shooting lasers. At one point in the demonstration, Silas even used his phone to give the miniature bot commands.
Mekamon, which is what Silas calls the bot, impressed Apple’s head of developer relations, Ron Okamoto, so much that he offered an exclusive distribution deal to Silas in November 2017 according to Forbes.
It wasn’t revealed at the time, but when Silas met with the exec at the Four Seasons back in March, Apple was planning to launch ARKit — its very first platform for augmented reality — and Silas’s Mekamon was an ideal partner for the technology.
AR is the same technology used in smartphone screens, made popular by Pokemon Go, and pushed even further with Apple’s latest iPhone X
Apple priced his four-legged “battle-bots” at $300 and are sold in nearly all of its stores in the United States and Britain.
Silas, having already raised $10 million for the company, is seeking a new round of funds as well some licensing deals with entertainment companies in Asia.
Silas and his team have also started to add even more features to Mekemon. Touch response, for example, has been successfully implemented, which can display signs happiness, aggression, and even calmer movements.
Despite starting from humble beginnings in Nigeria where he lacked the exposure to technology that many kids get today, Adekunle is now one of the thought leaders in the tech field.
It just shows that all you need is a vision and the rest will fall in line when you act on them.