Why We Are Grooming Kids On Robotics And Coding – IntelBox CEO
TECH DIGEST – Abubakar Lamido Tanko is the Chief Executive Officer of Abuja-based tech company, IntelBox Solution Limited. He holds a bachelor degree in Electrical/Electronic Engineering, M.Sc in Telecommunications and Wireless Technology, and currently studying for a PhD in Information Systems.
In this interview with TECHDIGEST, Abubakar Lamido Tanko, explains how his tech firm hopes to drive tech innovation in the country.
TechDigest: Please tell us about your tech company… for instance when was it launched?
Tanko : IntelBox is a tech company that is built on Innovation, Discovery and Engineering.
IntelBox has a learning centre purposely to foster technology education to kids and young adults. We have a very wide range of technological fields and areas of interest. Our most prominent one is robotics. We believe that young engineers should have opportunities to innovate by providing them necessary tools and training to execute projects that solve real problems in the society.
TechDigest: Have you or your firm participated in any Innovation Challenge?
Tanko: No, we have not participated in any innovation challenge before. Hopefully, after we launch our innovations this year, we will be available to participate in innovation challenges.
TechDigest: Is there any unique edge or quality about your tech company?
Tanko : We believe in the freedom to innovate. This is why we have a Learning Center. Our learning center brings together like-minds who participate as “free thinkers” and “innovators” in our innovation clubs. We run the following clubs:
a.) Young Engineers Club – Coding and Robotics for kids aged 6 to 15 yrs.
b.) Robotics Club – Students, tech enthusiasts and professionals who are interested in robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and IoT.
c.) Immersive Realities Club – for Game development, Augmented/Virtual Reality enthusiasts.
So, most of the innovations you find around are just cases of people going abroad to buy technologies and come back to Nigeria to operate them. At IntelBox, we follow more of engineering approach to our robotics innovation system.
TechDigest: Has your firm launched any project? What project are you working on now?
Tanko : We have a number of Makerspaces: They include:
a.) Robotics/Embedded Systems Laboratory
b.) Virtual/Augmented Reality Studio
We are currently building a Cessna 172 G1000 Skyhawk Cockpit which will serve as a flight simulator. The cockpit is connected to the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
We are also building a fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) using a petrol engine.
TechDigest: How would such projects benefit Nigerians?
Tanko : The Cessna 172 is the most produced aircraft in the world. We are providing pilots and flying enthusiasts the opportunity to gain flying hours in our immersive simulator setup. Compared to common battery powered multi-copters which can only achieve under 20 minutes of flight, our fixed wing UAV will be capable of flying for hours.
This is due to the fact that we have an internal combustion engine that can carry sufficient fuel to prolong flight time.
For UAVs to be effective in combatting crime and providing aid, they must be built to fly long distances and carry heavier payloads.
Our Satellite link will provide reliable communication for manual flight controls as well as provide telemetry data over the internet.
Our engineers are currently working on a flight computer that will feature some auto pilot functionalities.
TechDigest: Has your firm been assessed by any Nigeria technology regulatory agency?
Tanko : Not yet. We are still in the process of registering with NITDA
TechDigest: Have you made efforts to reach out to any public agency for partnership?
Tanko : No, we haven’t. We believe that people should see the outputs and things we have done, for them to have enough reason to partner with us.
We also believe that when people see our products and services that can compete internationally, designed in accordance to international best practices, people will look for us.
TechDigest: What kind of support would you like to get from the federal government?
Tanko : We are available for any kind of grant intervention from the federal government but for now, we are looking for universities that are offering science and technology-related and sciences courses to partner with us to bring the real world experience to such institutions.
We are seeking more collaboration with academic institutions. We are willing to collaborate with universities to setup proper maker spaces for students in technology.
We can help in shaping the future if we are given the opportunity to contribute to technology education in Nigeria.
TechDigest: Some people believe that partnership with other indigenous technology firms could be beneficial. What do you think about that suggestion?
Tanko : We are open to partnerships that will provide real solutions to problems. Indigenous firms have the advantage because they understand the terrain and also our youths would use the opportunity to contribute to national development.