Pavegen’s innovative flooring technology converts the kinetic energy of footsteps into off-grid electricity and data. It enables citizens to participate directly in contributing to the sustainability of their city. The company, based in London and Cambridge, believes that it is people – not technology alone – that will transform our cities.
We recently invited STEM-enrolled high school students from six schools across Ayrshire to attend a careers-in-engineering event at Dumfries House in Scotland, led by several members of the QEPrize Ambassador Network. The event, held in The Morphy Richards Engineering Centre on the estate, provided a series of engaging demonstrations to highlight how engineering is a viable and rewarding alternative to other STEM-related higher education courses that the students may be considering.
Alongside raising the profile of engineering, a key aim of the QEPrize – both operationally and symbolically – is to inspire the next generation to take up the profession and face the challenges of the future. The Morphy Richards Engineering Centre at Dumfries House provided the perfect environment for the occasion, as it runs various programmes throughout the year designed to highlight the value of and exciting career prospects in engineering.
Glastonbury Festival 2017. Image credit: Luke Taylor
As a company spanning engineering and the arts, both the very nature of energy and its functional application have always been central to what we do. From dramatic show moments that trigger a simultaneous upsurge of emotion amongst thousands of people, to 60-foot flames erupting with a thunderous shockwave – the harnessing and visualization of energy in its most visceral forms are the essence of the experiences we create.
When we hear about food waste, we tend to think of wastage at the consumer side of things – the bag of half-eaten salad mix you guiltily throw out every week, the enormous meal at a restaurant you couldn’t finish, or your parents sternly reminding you of the ‘starving children around the world’ as you pick at your peas.
Food loss and wastage, however, is a pervasive issue at all stages along the food supply chain from production and storage through to transport and consumption.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) claims that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally – equal to around 1.3 billion tonnes annually.
While consumer-side efforts have been launched in recent years to combat this issue (such as ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetable campaigns, and apps that let consumers buy cheap food from cafes before it gets binned), there’s an opportunity to combat the issue on the production-side by harnessing AI and machine learning (ML) technology.
In 2018 it’s hard to go a week without seeing an AI innovation making the news headlines. Just last week, NEX Team (a mobile intelligence company) released HomeCourt – an iOS app that combines your smartphone camera with artificial intelligence to count, track, and chart basketball shots in real-time. The app allows players to self-analyse and improve their performance, and has the potential to transform the way that athletes train. While HomeCourt represents niche applications of AI, engineers’ continued development of artificial intelligence(s) across various industries could revolutionise everything from aerospace technology and healthcare through to civil construction work and lifestyle activities. As such, we aim to explore where AI stands in 2018, where its development is heading, as well as the implications for when we get there.
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.