Engineer a Better World
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Eneni Bambara-Abban

Job Title: Robotics Engineer, Entrepreneur and STEM Activist

Company you work for: Self Employed/The Techover

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be a Robotics engineer, ever since Primary School!

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
As a black female robotics engineer, my work can have a profound impact in the future. By serving as a role model, I can inspire other black women to pursue STEM careers. Through technological advancements, I aim to revolutionize industries, enhance productivity, and improve efficiency by designing robots that address societal challenges. I want to create robots that contribute to healthcare, disaster response, and environmental conservation. Prioritising ethics, I continuously advocate for fairness and inclusivity in algorithm development, and lastly, through mentorship and my charity, The Techover Foundation, I empower aspiring engineers from underrepresented backgrounds to shape the future of robotics and AI.

What excites you most about STEM?
What excites me most about STEM is the opportunity for discovery, innovation, and impact. It offers the chance to explore the unknown, solve complex problems and create ground-breaking technologies. The collaborative nature of STEM and its ability to shape the future and make a lasting impact inspires me on a daily basis to push myself creatively and technically!

What or who inspired you to do your job, and what do you love most about it?
Believe it or not, I was inspired by a toy I stumbled across in a flea market! When I was a kid, my mum bought me a doll that could walk and talk. I was fascinated by the idea that an inanimate object could have some semblance of life, which began my journey into robotics from trying to recreate it. What I love the most about working in STEM, specifically robotics, is the unique blend of creativity, technicality, and real-world application. It allows me to bring my imagination to life by designing and building intelligent machines that interact with the world. Witnessing the tangible impact of my work and seeing how robots can positively transform industries and people's lives is what I find most rewarding about working in robotics.

How might your role work in space, sport or on the Moon in the future?
In the future, my role as a robotics engineer could have significant implications in space exploration, sports, and lunar missions. I could easily see my work being integrated into the development of advanced robotic systems for planetary exploration, autonomous spacecraft, and maintenance tasks in space. In the realm of sports, I could help create robotic exoskeletons and training machines to enhance performance and push the boundaries of athletic achievement.

What do you think the future for humans in space looks like?
Who really knows what the future holds on Earth let alone in Space, but it definitely holds great promise! As technology advances, the prospect of establishing permanent human settlements on other celestial bodies such as Mars will become much more feasible. We can see space tourism is becoming a big buzz in the technical world already with companies such as SpaceX making massive strides in space exploration. There will definitely be more opportunities for individuals to experience space travel and carry out private ventures in low Earth orbit and beyond.

Would you like to play football on the Moon one day and why?
I would love to! Playing football on the Moon would be a unique and exciting experience, especially with the Moon's lower gravity, the game would have a completely different dynamic. I actually played for my university in Bristol for many years in the centre-defensive midfielder position! Football has always held a special place in my heart so combining my love for the sport with my love for tech sounds like a priceless experience.

How does the work you do now link to our Moon United campaign to play football in the future?
While my current focus may not be directly related to sports or lunar activities, the advancements in robotics and technology that I help develop can have broad applications across various fields. In the context of playing football on the Moon, robotics and technology could play a role in many parts of the Moon United campaign. From helping in creating specialised equipment and infrastructure for the games to be possible, to contributing to the development of specialised equipment that enables players to adapt to the unique lunar environment while maintaining safety and performance.

What were your favourite subjects at school and why?
Definitely Physics and IT. Besides being incredibly fascinated by lessons about the fundamental principles that govern the physical world, Physics really helped me to understand the mechanics of robots, sensors, and the interaction between robots and their environment. IT really sparked my computational thinking and love for programming, which connects the software introduced in IT with the physical components like resistors and microprocessors taught to us in Physics!

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in STEM?
Firstly, take the time to explore your interests and find out what truly excites you as there are so many opportunities in STEM. Secondly, cultivate your curiosity and problem-solving skills, as they will be essential in tackling complex challenges. Next, it is important to seek out mentorship and connect with professionals in your desired field to gain valuable insights. And lastly, never stop learning and trying new things. Even if you fail, see it as a valuable learning opportunity and try again.