Meet teen robot builder Kano

While the majority of his age mates galloped through the streets and some indulged in vices, Isah Auwal Barde, a 17-year-old high school graduate, had only one idea in mind: to build a robot with falls from zero, with the hopefully bringing hard-hitting attention to his desire to not only make a name for himself but also put Nigeria in the news for positive achievements.

Born on May 22, 2005 in the densely populated Gyadi-Gyadi Court Road neighborhood of Kano, Isah has had only one wish since he became self-aware, and that is to make a name for himself in as a leading and artificial engineer. intelligence specialist. He will never let his humble past bring him down.

“I can’t say when exactly I started inventing or making things. I just grew up in it. I built mini cars and mini construction vehicles and then moved on to robots because I love them. I often see them in movies and so I decided to create my own and did it. It started as a joke; I didn’t really believe I could do it, but I did it,” he said pointing Daily Trust Saturday how the robot works.

At the moment, the robot responds to Isah’s arm movement and he hopes to expand it to other parts soon, including head and foot movement.

Although Isah cannot recall exactly when he first became interested in technology and engineering, his father, Malam Auwal Barde, a Kano civil servant, said he remembers his son having about 8 years old when he started bringing trash into the house and building what he called “toys” with them.

As such, he wasn’t surprised when Isah arrived in high school and his best subject was physics.

Isah said he graduated from high school last year but started building the robot a year early, especially during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown that put the students out of school for several months.

A 17-year-old high school graduate, he had one thing in mind: to build a robot out of scraps of scratch

With the support of his parents (finances) and his brother (encouragement), Isah had only local elements to put together and even when it seemed impossible, he persevered.

“My father and my mother sponsored me, and my brother also motivated me throughout the trip; whenever I felt like giving up, he encouraged me to persevere. There were times when I was bored doing this work, but it inspired me,” he said, as his brother Muhammad helped him attach the jacket-like control system that he wore to move the robots.

Explaining how he made the approximately 3-foot-tall robot, Isah said he “used local elements to create it; there are motors, cardboard, LEDs, copper wires, aluminum, tires, nuts and pipes. Basically everything is sourced locally from people and places like Jakara, a nearby market where leftovers are sold. I bought the motors and stuff from hair dryers that no longer work and were put on the market to be sold as scrap.

“It cost me nearly 30,000 naira, but that’s not all I bought from the market that I attached to the robot. Sometimes I had bought things at the market and when I got home, I realized that it would be of no use to the robot, so I diverted it to something else. Some of the motors I purchased were spoiled in the process. I have been to Jakara market about five times, and with up to 3000 naira each time.

Explaining in more detail how he assembled the materials that later became a responsive robot, Isah said he first got the idea from the movies and the how-to from YouTube videos.

“…even though in the movies you will only see the way the robot moves, not the way it was made or processed. And also, in the films, there are fictional things and at this level, I can’t do that but to the best of my ability I was able to produce that.

“My next step is to make sure the robot moves. And I have a dream of creating a robot based on artificial intelligence, what they call humanoids, so that it can control itself and help people. people too,” he said.

Isah’s goal is to be able to “help people and contribute to people’s lives and daily routines”.

On his motivation and inspiration, Isah says he watches “James Bruton videos on YouTube and he inspires me. So far he is the only person I see making this kind of robot. The others make small ones that work with tires and program them.

Objectives and next steps

“I want to study robotics engineering or mechatronics engineering and there is no university in Nigeria that teaches courses on artificial intelligence or robotics engineering. So I hope to join a university abroad that offers this type of course because they have more equipment and give practical knowledge on the field I have chosen.

“Even though my parents have no way of sending me to study abroad, I still hope to go. That’s why I want to appeal to government, individuals and businesses to come to my aid, so that I can make my country proud one day,” Isah said.

His father Auwal also joined his son in appealing for everyone’s support to achieve his dreams.

The father of nine said even his extra income as a poultry farmer would never be enough to fulfill Isah’s dream of studying abroad, especially as his first son, Muhammad, is already in a higher institution (Bayero University Kano) studying medicine and surgery, another expensive degree program.

He said one of his other children, aged around eight, is already following in Isah’s footsteps and he feels proud as a father that even in times when many children are recalcitrant, Allah blessed him with children who are not only obedient but positively glowing. lights on his family.

Isah’s advice to other teenagers

Isah said his advice for young people like him is to consider self-development.

“My advice to young people my age is to engage in something (positive), otherwise they will be caught doing something negative. Things like sewing, and in technology things like inventing and the like, who will occupy them rather than roaming the streets and neighborhood and getting involved in vices, crime and criminality,” he added.

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