When a lecturer at Ashesi asked Kojo to describe himself in a word, he didn’t have to think long about it – “robotics” was the natural and apt response.
Several years earlier in high school, after stumbling upon the robotics club in his first year, Kojo’s interest was immediately piqued. Since then, Kojo has fully immersed himself into robotics, working towards a career in robotics and artificial intelligence.
“Robotics keeps me on my toes,” explained Kojo. “Essentially, how a robot functions is a reflection of the builder or programmer, so I’m constantly challenged to optimize solutions: what is the most efficient way of accomplishing a task? Robotics also helps bring your logic, intelligence and imagination alive, and that excites me.”
This year, Kojo is one of three Ghanaians selected to be on the panel of judges for the World Robot Olympiad 2016 to be held in New Delhi, India in November. For three days, Kojo alongside fifteen other judges will coach, mentor and coordinate the Robotics Football World cup, one of the highlights of the Olympiad. At nineteen years, Kojo is also one of the youngest judges at the competition.
I’m very excited about this,” said Kojo. “The opportunity to learn from and coach some of the brightest brains in robotics; understanding how they think and build their algorithms is truly exciting. I also want to build my network with other robotics enthusiasts and professionals from around the world. Having the kind of support from my parents, mentors at the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation, namely Dr. Yaw Okraku-Yirenkyi and Dr. Ashitey Trebu-Ollenu and Dr. Korsah at Ashesi has been tremendous. It’s truly a blessing, and I’m thankful to God.”
The World Robot Olympiad, an event for science, technology and education, brings together young people from across the globe to build on their creativity and problem solving skills though challenges and educational robotic competitions. Participating teams, design, build and program robots to participate in various sporting disciplines.
Outside school, Kojo is at the frontline of teaching kids how to build and program robots. Working with the Ghana Robotics Academy Foundation (GRAF), he has been instrumental in starting up robotics clubs and running boot-camps in high schools across the country. At Ashesi, through volunteering with Tech Era, a community engagement initiative, Kojo is able to reach out to children in underserved communities.
[Kojo and members of the Wesley Girls High School robotics team]
“Due to very limited exposure, kids in deprived communities may never get the chance to experience robotics, and there are some talented kids in those communities,” said Kojo. “Teaching them, and watching them build and program the robots makes me happy. Once more people are equipped with the knowledge, it actually broadens the scope of robotics in Ghana and it’s only exciting to see what they will do with it.”