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'Robot boy' Callum is shaping the future

THE FUTURE: Callum with his mum Dionne and one of his robots; (inset) helping other children (photos: Ken Passley)

WHEN CALLUM Daniel first came across Titan the Robot at the age of four, nobody quite realised the effect it would have on him.

Now, just four years on, he builds and codes his own robots – and has even created his very own company. The young entrepreneur developed his fascination with building after playing with Lego as a toddler.

His mother, Dionne Daniel, said: “His passion for robots developed when we went away for a weekend and he saw this thing called Titan the Robot. Callum was curious to know how Titan worked, which eventually led him to wanting to know if he could build something similar. He may have only been four years old at the time, but remained intrigued by him.”

Ms Daniel then bought her son a Meccanoid G15 KS personal robot, which took him just four weeks to build. She added: “From there, he realised that not only did he love robots, but he could build them – and that’s where it all began.”

The robot lover became even more intrigued with the art of building robots and started to attend classes. He said: “I searched for robotic classes, lectures, anywhere where I could meet robots.

“I attended some talks at London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDE UTC), and I was the youngest person there taking notes and demonstrating the robots. “That’s where I met the Director of LDE UTC and other members of staff who now support me and iCodeRobots.”

Callum’s completion of his Meccanoid ro- bot proved to be a hit with his friends at the Lee Valley Under 10s Ice Hockey team, as he showed them his progress each week. Ms Daniel said: “He would bring a piece of the robot to practice and children would be fascinated. “And once it was all done children and their parents were amazed. He even got the nickname The Robot Boy.”

SUCCESS

While friends and family celebrated Callum’s success, he also realised that other children wanted to build and code just like him – but didn’t have the means to. “So Callum started suggesting that maybe we can let children build some of his robots, or we can start a company for children to come and build together.”

To further develop this idea, Callum got in contact with Julian Hall, the founder of UltraKids. By attending the UltraKids Winter Fair at Here East in Stratford, he decided that he wanted to run his own company, teaching kids between the ages of six and 12 how to write code. There, iCodeRobots was born – a robotics company founded by Callum, which employs robotic engineers and robotic students (officially trained by Lego Education) from universities and
colleges.


Callum helping other children (photos: Ken Passley)

The company has continued to grow with the help of Loughborough University, who have sponsored a space where children can be taught how to code and build robots in a safe, secure and stimulating environment.

CHANCE

Speaking to The Voice, Callum said: “I want all children to be confident and never let anyone tell them they can’t do things, because if people give us a chance we can.” A taster session of one of iCod- eRobots’ classes took place last week at Loughborough University, giving children an idea of the skills involved. Callum added:

“It’s great to have the support of the university because I’d like the children we teach to be able to build bionic arms and legs in the future.” His passion stems from one of his main inspirations – his great grandfather. “My great grandfather lost his arm in an accident and he would have loved a cool bionic arm,” he said.

Parus Dhanani, the Facility Manager at Loughborough University said: “We’re absolutely happy to have Callum here at Loughborough University and it’s quite an exciting project.” In a statement to The Voice, the university said: “Callum is such an inspiration.

“We were keen to support him as he embodies the entrepreneurial spirit which really resonates with Loughborough University London. Our students work with creative innovators and pioneers in their field, so it is very fitting that we are sup- porting the next generation.”

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