With the global road network currently spanning over 21 million kilometres, and estimated to increase by a further 4.7 million by 2050 – our roads present both a prime target and medium for a plethora of engineering innovations around the world.
Digital technologies and AI offer a new wave of opportunities to turn data into actionable insights – creating a balance between social, environmental, and economic opportunities.
In 2018, it’s safe to say that the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the myriad of technologies derived from their development are all here to stay. With the ceaseless amalgamation of these various innovations, engineers are creating a cyber-physical world where pervasively interconnected objects, things, and processes can potentially unlock a breadth of unprecedented opportunities. However, I should point out that encapsulating the entire medley of possibilities afforded by these technologies is a considerable endeavour requiring a far longer and more comprehensive overview – perhaps in the form of a book, or three – than this article can offer in isolation. As such, I’ll concentrate on something closer to my own work: smart cities. More specifically, I’ll be focusing on the potential for us to optimally – and transparently – manage and operate city-wide infrastructure.
Create the Trophy combines creativity with 3D design technology to construct a piece of engineering history.
After Create the Trophy’s first international entrants produced a breadth of innovative designs in 2016, the competition is back again in 2018 alongside the newly improved #QEPrize3D app, available on both iOS and Android. Aspiring designers aged between 14 and 24 from around the world can try their hand at creating a unique and innovative trophy design that captures the essence and wonder of engineering. From rockets and satellites to nanotechnology and quantum computing – engineering is a fundamental element of global society and produces a vast selection of innovations from which users can draw inspiration as they #CreatetheTrophy.
Our oceans are dirty. AI-powered robot microscopes may save them.
In five years, small autonomous AI microscopes, networked in the cloud and deployed around the world, will continually monitor the condition of the natural resource most critical to our survival: water.
As we discussed in our recent ‘State of engineering‘ article, engineers are innovating across the pipeline to develop accessible, low-cost, and intuitive technologies that help to realise the goal of global food and water security. For engineers, a large part of achieving this goal involves guaranteeing that the technologies and practices developed are sustainable. If not sustainable, then the developments merely provide a temporary patch for the problem, rather than an actual solution. Thankfully, as QEPrize donor company Hitachi writes, ag-tech solutions that optimise food production, improve food distribution, and reduce food consumption are already being implemented.
From the outside looking in, China’s internet landscape can look unnecessarily restricted and censored. However, the situation on the inside of the country’s famous firewall may be quite different from how it is often portrayed in the media. In fact, the censorship model is starting to be replicated in other parts of the world, even in areas independent of the influence of Beijing. So, what is the infamous firewall, and why is it spreading?
Cryptography, at a fundamental level, is the science of keeping secrets.
As a child, you may have used secret messages or languages to communicate with friends or siblings, and you have likely observed the use of cryptography in various aspects of our society – maintaining the confidentiality of personal, consumer, corporate, and government data. However, on top of this, cryptography’s status as an indispensable building block in digital infrastructure continues to grow with the perpetual increase in online connectivity – securing online transactions, authentication, and access to resources.
Before you dive into this article too deeply, take a moment to read the following description, and then close your eyes for a second. Imagine yourself standing inside a climate-controlled, high-ceiling warehouse. In front of you stands a tower with eight irrigated levels, on each of which lettuces, herbs, microgreens, and baby greens grow under LED lights. Robotics bring trays with young plants from outside into the right position in the growing tower, while on the other end fully grown crops are taken out, ready to be harvested. Can you see it? You are standing in Urban Crop Solutions’ PlantFactory – an indoor vertical farm – a highly engineered manufacturing plant producing not goods, but crops.