New material lights up high-performance solar cells


A brand new design could see cheap yet high-performance solar cells manufactured from everyday materials. Engineers at Stanford and Oxford universities have developed a new type of solar cell, which could even outperform traditional silicon cells.

Solar cells work by collecting light energy from the sun and converting it into an electrical current. In a conventional cell, a layer of silicon crystals absorbs light energy from the sun. This causes electrons to become excited to the point that they are ejected from the material. We can capture the resulting electric current for use as clean electricity.

Doing more with less: Bio-inspired innovations 


A cross-section of bamboo, a naturally-occurring porous substance 

In our competitive world, we are always looking for more efficient, sustainable and intelligent engineering solutions. We are searching for growth while operating in a resource-depleted, energy-constrained world. The ultimate aim is doing more with less. Many natural resources are reaching their peak in terms of cost or quality. The availability of these raw materials, coupled with the governmental push towards a low carbon economy, puts pressure on the manufacturing industry. 

Desert Island Discs: Dr Robert Langer


Dr Robert Langer, the 2015 winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, was featured on Sunday 16th October on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Please click here to catch up with the interview.

To produce biopharmaceuticals on demand, just add water


Freeze-dried cellular components can be rehydrated to churn out useful proteins.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
MIT News

Researchers at MIT and other institutions have created tiny freeze-dried pellets that include all of the molecular machinery needed to translate DNA into proteins, which could form the basis for on-demand production of drugs and vaccines.

Moldable: Human-centred manufacturing for mass customisation


Currently most manufacturing techniques employ mass production processes. These methods produce standardised goods in large quantities and at low cost. In this way, industry can respond to demand by providing products at affordable prices. However, this method cannot provide goods to fit individual, unique consumers. This is particularly important when making products designed to fit with the human body.

When a customer requires a special size or variation of a product, parts must often be made as unique pieces, and even by hand. This increases the price of the item, making it inaccessible to many potential buyers.

Manufacturing cities on Mars


Meet the designers with their heads in the stars, competing to build sustainable cities on our nearest neighbour; Mars. Manufacturing is evolving here on Earth as technologies like large-scale 3D printing gain popularity. Students and professionals worldwide have this year taken their innovations a step further in the Mars City Design Competition.

The contest is the brainchild of Mars City Design CEO, founder and ‘Marschitect’, Vera Mulyani. The aim; designing and innovating a sustainable city on Mars. Entrants used their designs to solve the everyday problems of living on Mars. These covered categories looking at structural design, a city infrastructure and agriculture in space.

Create the Trophy returns to the QEPrize!

The iconic trophy design competition returns to the QEPrize for 2017, and this time it’s international!  The competition has launched today with a brand new app, available to download on apple and android mobile devices.  For the first time ever, the Create the Trophy competition is open to young designers worldwide, and to a wider age range.

Challenging Engineers: a call to tomorrow’s problem solvers


On 3rd October, QEPrize winner Dr Robert Langer returned to the UK, joining marine engineer Ilya Marotta and broadcaster Alok Jha to discuss the future of engineering.

To catch up with the evening’s events, you can watch the video below, and the event photos can be found here. If you’d like to hear about more events like this in the future, make sure you’re following us on Twitter!