Have you ever settled yourself down in front of an animated movie and marvelled at how the 3D figures are brought to life?
From Sulley’s wind-ruffled fur as he strides across the ‘Monsters’ University’ campus to the heart-wrenching fade-out of Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong, in ‘Inside Out’, it’s the play of light across these 3D scenes that brings the characters so vividly to life. Each moment is painstakingly animated, textured and rendered to give a carefully crafted illusion of reality.
In these more recent productions, a technique called ‘ray tracing’ maps out each ray of light in a scene, giving rise to the shadows, reflections and 3D appearance of characters. Even with the help of vast banks of powerful computers, the rendering process takes hundreds of thousands of computing hours, and films can take years to finish.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the world as we know it. It’s not just the tech world that’s feeling the heat. AI has seamlessly become a part of our everyday lives without us even realizing it.
The realm of online security and cybercrime is an interesting space to watch. After the Hollywood limelight sensationalised them for years, the two topics are now moving away from popular culture. Lately, they’re located either in midst of socio-political debate or spread across the world’s media headlines.
Yet, at the same time, the field is a cornerstone of innovation. Rapid developments and the application of these innovations are paving the way forward for society. Funding continues to increase, and the perception of engineers in this area remains positive. The 2017 Create the Future report shows that 82% of international respondents see engineers as crucial to online security. As such, what is the state of engineering in this cybersecurity? Are advancements progressing as a self-contained endeavour, or are they more tightly interwoven with other processes? While the battle between engineers and cybercriminals rages on, where does the public fit?
The evolution of music creation has always been rife with controversy and resistance. Take the words of early 20th century classical guitar virtuoso Andres Segovia.
“Electric guitars are an abomination, whoever heard of an electric violin? An electric cello? Or for that matter an electric singer?”
But as Segovia probably knew; breaking barriers and ruffling feathers is the backbone of art and music. As with evolution of technology in any industry, the sea of change pays no respect to protests from the old guard. These days, electric violins, cellos and even singers are commonplace. As for electric guitars? Last year over one million electric guitars were sold in the US.
Dr Vinton Cerf was one of the recipients of the inaugural QEPrize, taking the accolade in 2013 for his part in creating the Internet. He was awarded the prize alongside Dr Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen, whose work gave rise to the fundamental architecture of the internet, the World Wide Web and the browser. We caught up with Cerf, who is now vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, to find out what his team has been working on since he received the prize.
The QEPrize has often put a spotlight on technological innovations, with the creators of the Internet and the World Wide Web receiving the award in 2013, and the inventors of the digital imaging sensor taking the prize last year. These two pivotal developments in technology have truly changed the way people communicate all over the world. The impacts of the technologies have also transformed many industries, from entertainment, to education, science and medicine.
Last year’s Create the Future report revealed the vast scale of the impact of technological innovations on society. Respondents from 10 countries picked computers and the internet as the most important innovations in the last 100 years, with artificial intelligence and robotics following closely behind. However, although people recognised AI and robotics as important, they did not necessarily see them as relevant to their daily lives.
An engineer, scientist and social tech entrepreneur, I am currently studying for a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. The co-founder of two social tech start-ups, ‘Wudi‘ & ‘Favalley‘, my vision is to innovate, transform and empower society, revolutionising education through technology. I aspire to provide a platform for young people to become positive change makers for society.
Being in love with physics, exploring, and creating ‘stuff’, engineering came as an obvious choice to me. Trying to understand the mysterious ‘electric shock’ I received from objects as a child motivated me to take up electrical engineering as my specialisation. I started off with an undergraduate degree, then moved on to do a master’s and am now pursuing a PhD in the same area.
Second study by prestigious Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering shows increasing reliance on technology and engineering, while skills gap widens
The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) today released the Create the Future 2017 report, an international survey into the attitudes towards engineering across 10 markets including the UK, US, Germany, Japan, India and Brazil.