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Rejected By Top Nigerian University, Bobai Kato Builds An AI Robot That Can Solve Rubik’s Cube

by Milicent Atieno
Rejected By Top Nigerian University, Bobai Kato Builds An AI Robot That Can Solve Rubik’s Cube

There’s a common saying that goes’ “when one door closes, often we stare at that closed door with teary eyes that we fail to see the other next door that is open’. Well, one Bobai Ephraim Kato lived to defy this saying, when top local Nigerian universities rejected him, but he later turned out to be an academic success story with demonstrated innovative results.

Kato sat for his first Jamb exams in Nigeria but was unable to get the university threshold qualifications. This setback was not about to make him throw in the towel, so he sat for another Jamb exams as he applied to join the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to do Medicine. His second attempt also bore no fruits, he later tried doing the University’s remedial schools and was unlucky again for the third time.

At this point, most people would have already given up and comforting themselves with the justification that they tried all their best; trying three times. But not Kato! He later went for his fourth Jamb exams but this time at the Kaduna State University. He was successful enough to get an admission letter to the University, but on the day of course registration, it emerged that he had not passed his English in Waec. Thus, he was denied admission to the University.

Down but not out, Kato decided to take the Kaduna State University’s remedial program and sat for the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT) scholarship exams. He managed to get the second highest score and secured admission to do computing. He went to learn at NIIT, and after about a year at the institution, he got an admission to the Sri Lanka Institute of Technology (SLIT) through a cousin.

Life was far from a bed of roses during his studies in Sri Lanka. To make things worse, he was never happy with software engineering course he was taking at SLIT. Thus, he decided to move to Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) and got his diploma and advanced diploma within two years. On his third year, he was not able to do the mandatory internship program since his VISA did not allow him to get a job; paid or unpaid.

Kato then left IIT and joined the International College of Business and Technology (ICBT). Where he was able to complete his program and got a degree in software engineering. However, as a condition of earning the degree, Kato had to complete his final year project. This is the point in time where Kato thought outside the box and the fact that he didn’t have the most understanding supervisor in the world did not help.

After some brainstorming on ideas for his software engineering project, he decided to go for a bizarre idea of creating a robot that can solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Kato created 16 different algorithms that worked at the robot’s skill sets, in addition to creating a database for the skillsets by the robot. Next, Kato came up with a pattern based on the artificial intelligence (AI) programming language R that makes the robot determine the best skills to use in solving particular challenges on the Rubik Cube puzzle.

The final prototype was achieved with some challenges, but Kato managed to pull it off. Today, he is a Software Engineer graduate. Kato also plans to go back to Nigeria, where he intends to delve into forensic computing, digital investigation, and cyber security. He also wants to join in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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