Underwater autonomous vehicles, or drones, have been in operation – and in the public eye – for decades. One of the earliest and most well-known remotely operated, deep-sea vehicles is Argo. Towed along the sea-bed and bristling with cameras, Argo was responsible for revealing the first glimpses of RMS Titanic in 1985, 73 years after her fateful maiden voyage.
More recently, submersible drones have been employed for other such expeditions; the hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines ‘MH370’ is noted as the largest and most expensive underwater search effort in history. Undertaking ‘deadly, dangerous and dull’ tasks across the oceans, drones help reduce the risk to human lives and extend research capabilities beneath the waves. Unfortunately, however, this much technology doesn’t come cheap.
When I was younger I used to enjoy tinkering in my dad’s shed, making jewellery with his soldering iron. At school, I loved technology and design and enjoyed the freedom of being creative. Engineering is an incredibly creative subject with no limitations to what you can do. As a subject, it gives you the tools to create and build anything you can imagine.
After leaving school I studied mechanical engineering at Ulster University, spending a year abroad at St Martin’s University in Washington, USA. When I returned from the States, I decided to continue my engineering education, this time heading to the Centre for Renewable Energy at Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland.
Over the last twenty years, Uganda has experienced an economic boom, placing it among the fastest growing economies in the world. However, an influx of people from rural areas to cities is coupled with a population growth of almost three times the global average, meaning income remains low. Despite its growth, more than 10 million people in Uganda lack access to clean, safe drinking water and water-borne diseases remain the leading cause of death in children under five.
Kathy Ku, an engineering student from Harvard University, visited the country in 2012, and became determined to engineer a solution. Joining forces with fellow student, John Kye, the pair co-founded charity SPOUTS of Water, embarking on their mission to provide safe water for Uganda.
This year’s CES innovation awards, held in January in Las Vegas, gave us an insight into the future tech that could help transform our lives. Among the usual collection of wearables, entertainment systems and 3D printers designed to make our lives easier, there was also a category honouring the best in eco-design and sustainable technologies.
Taking the title of ‘Best of Innovations’ in the eco category was the Zera Food Recycler, a home solution set on reducing food waste sent to landfill.
Experts and stakeholders in Egypt warn of imminent water poverty as a result of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is about to become operational. Meanwhile, agricultural production consumes about 85 per cent of the country’s water resources, half of which goes towards rice irrigation.
The role of engineering in making a better world has never been more important, with ‘solving the world’s problems’ set to become the industry’s top priority in the next 20 years. Breaking this down a little, more than three quarters of people think that engineering can improve renewable energy sources in this time frame. Additionally, 63% think engineers hold the key to sustainable agriculture and more than half think they can crack water scarcity around the world. While this might seem like a daunting task to most of us, it seems to be one the industry is taking in its stride.
In order to address the economic divide both within and between countries, development relies on energy. In driving development, however, it is essential that the energy we are using has less of an impact on the environment. Bob Dudley, Group CEO of BP said that resolving this paradox is “one of the great missions of this century”, requiring the “best brains” for the job.
Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, has made headlines again this week with his latest in potentially life-changing drug therapies.
Hidden within the innermost section of your ear are thousands of tiny hair cells, detecting sound waves and transforming them into signals to send to our brains. These hair cells allow us to hear our favourite music, chat to our friends and listen out for the doorbell. Yet damage to these delicate cells is the leading cause of hearing loss, meaning more than 360 million people around the world miss out on these sounds.
This year’s iconic QEPrize trophy was selected from thousands of entries to the Create the Trophy competition. Open for the first time in 2017 to an international audience, we received an unprecedented number of entries from 32 countries worldwide.
The winning entry was designed by 15-year-old Samuel Bentley, from Wales, who took his inspiration from the highest Welsh peak, Snowdon.