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SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY

Chinemelu Ezeh: The Robotic Engineer

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In the area of robotic engineering a Nigerian, Chinemelu Ezeh, is doing quite well, making waves in the United Kingdom. The PhD candidate in Assistive Robotics, studied in Imperial College London, where for his final year undergraduate project, he built an unmanned robot and designed the embedded system and communication protocols. He also developed a custom navigation and control system using D*algorithm and a predictive control regime.

His third year project was on localisation of an aerial vehicle, where he was the project manager. He also did software engineering internship at Google UK and an undergraduate research at his university.

What else has he achieved? According to him, “I have taken several leadership positions from assistant head boy at my secondary school and team leader for most of my university group projects, to various posts held within societies such as event’s organiser at Imperial Entrepreneurs Society. I have also attempted two ambitious trials to start-up competition organised by YouGov, where I was selected as one of the 30 participants amongst 250 other students including those in PhD level. In the second start-up which I am still involved in as a marketer and advisor, my team qualified to represent the UK in an international start-up competition called TIE Business Plan Competition. Both start-ups are in the technology sector.”

For those who know Ezeh, his success in his field is not surprising. As a secondary school student, his best subject was mathematics, which is a core requirement for engineering. Even his former mathematics teacher at the Nigeria Tulip International School attests to the fact that he had a passion for computers while in secondary school which gave an indication of where his future in educational pursuit lay at the time.

After experiencing the joy of success based on choice he made growing up, Ezeh advocates the need for children to be allowed to freely develop their innate talents. Apart from that, he says that parents need also to support and encourage them in the line they choose to go. As far as he is concerned, the potentials of children should never be underestimated either by their parents or teachers. ‘‘It is very vital to give them a chance to explore these potentials in different areas, which would show what sectors they may be best suited for.”

His parents did just so and giving credit to them for his success, he said “they were very serious about education and so would buy us many books and educational toys. We also had many lesson teachers from a young age. They also ensured we ate healthy and they did their best to ensure we grow up with a good sense of moral judgment and character based on the way they lived their own lives.”

Shocked that Nigeria and Africa by extension, are yet to grab the opportunity offered by science and technology to solve the tons of development challenges confronting the nation, he lamented, “I am surprised we do not have science based television channels that inspire people into the field. The British and Americans have many of such programmes. We have to face reality: modern civilisation is founded on science and technology. There is no other way to develop a nation. Nations advance when they apply principles gained from the pursuit of organised knowledge, which is essentially the scientific method of thinking. Technology is the fruit of scientific pursuit. I do stress the application because at the end of the day, action counts more than just words. As a nation, we need to become more curious in science and technology in order to catch up with the rest of the world, similar to what India has done.”

His plan therefore is to return to Nigeria to explore the opportunities the country has to offer and to use technology to solve some of the major challenges in Africa. He believes technology can help improve literacy level, facilitate transparency in government, solve our power crisis and improve the quality of life of people in Africa. And how does he feel about all of these? He expresses satisfaction saying “throughout the years, I find that there is a joy in creating things that have never been, and that is what engineers do.”   



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