Tomilade Ojelabi: The Future Of Coding And Robotics
It is not every day you come across a 7-year-old creative but Tomilade Ojelabi is one of such rarity. The young chap go hails from Oyo State but resides in Lagos, Nigeria started playing with robots at age five. From dismantling and reassembling his toys, in this chat with The Guardian Life, he shares his dreams, aspiration and hope for robotics and coding in Nigeria.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in the sciences? At what point did you know you had a thing for robotics?
At 5 years old, I had a lot of robotics toys my dad bought for me and I liked to dismantle and reassemble the toys. At age 7, my dad decided to order an intelligent Robot: Dash in which I programmed to do a lot of task.
You established a JT Robotics Club, what prompted that?
It is a proposed club which we are currently working on. JT robotics is an abbreviation of my name: John Tomilade Robotics. In Nigeria, I’m not sure there is any coding and Robotics club where kids interacts virtually through media forum and mailings to share ideas and problem solving using coding with AI (artificial intelligence) so they can provide future solutions on what is not likely to be done by man.
Share an experience in which you successfully programmed a complex robotic system.
I’ve had many experiences: Path and Wonder with Dash robots.
Working with dash robots requires complex thinking and know-how and involves the use of installed applications on a mobile phone connected to a Robot via blue tooth connection, programming the Robot to write on the floor through a creative thinking act using available materials I have at hand (Celotape and marker).
I was also able to programme my speech into the Robot and then ask the Robot to repeat my speech. I was also able to assemble and programme a Robotic 4 wheel drive car with audrino and scratch programming. This involves the use of electronics boards and connecting wires with batteries and then writing a code to transfer into the memory of the electronics board.
Robotics is not very popular in Nigeria, what has your journey down this road been like?
Very interesting. It improves my IQ and makes me smarter.
What projects are you working on? What do you hope they will lead to?
Assembling and programming a Drone, incorporating Audrino Uno board and then programming it to perform some task which is not so common with drones. If I’m able to achieve this using my prescribed specifications, it will encourage me to generate more ideas and working towards making it a reality.
What do you think can be done differently by Nigerians and the government to promote the use of technology and coding in general?
Nigerian parents should develop more interest in investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programs. Robotics and Artificial intelligence educational training for their children while the government should make it as part of the extra-curricular subjects.
What is the future of robotics and coding in Nigeria?
With the birth of artificial intelligence, future jobs will be replaced by robotics operating devices.
Do you have advice for students interested in science and engineering careers?
What you like as a hobby can become a career-driven job.
What do you do during your holidays or when you are out of school?
Assembling and programming with Robotics kits.