However, access to music is limited by the need for a high level of skill and understanding. This is particularly true for young children. Most children do not start learning an instrument until they are 8 years old, with the guitar and piano being popular choices. Music makes kids more mindful, creative, intelligent, social and happy. Studies suggest 96% of all parents want their child to learn music. To introduce children to music, they are often given shrunken versions of adult-sized instruments. These are hard to play, unengaging and are not social, discouraging budding musicians. Many children drop out of piano lessons due to disinterest.
My goal is to empower music learning and play in young children. My dad taught me to play the guitar when I was young, and I want all young people to experience the joy of music as I did. The concept for my innovation came from watching children play a small keyboard. They would only ever play one note at a time and would not play the black notes at all. Playing on their own, it was not a collaborative or fun experience
SMASHfestUK started life as a birthday party. Dr Lindsay Keith had been bemoaning the fact that she hadn’t been able to go to a festival for years. So her partner, Wyn Griffiths, decided that for her birthday, he would bring the festival to her. Tucked in a small pub in South East London, it lasted all day and included the best bits of her favourite festivals; science, comedy, music and art.
It was tremendous fun, but it got us thinking; why shouldn’t everyone get to enjoy this? We’re based in Deptford, London, an area where 40% of young people live in poverty and almost 80% of the young population is from a black or ethnic minority background. Research suggests that young people from BME backgrounds are only one third as likely to follow a career in STEM, and that children growing up in poverty are far less likely to enter STEM industries as a career.
A newly developed, hands-free musical instrument could be the next novel rehabilitation therapy for patients with motor disabilities.
The ‘Encephalophone’ is an instrument that can be controlled by the mind alone, with no external stimuli needed. The researchers hope it could play an important role in empowering and rehabilitating those diagnosed with motor neurone disease, spinal cord injuries, stroke or amputation. It was designed by Thomas Deuel, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Swedish Medical Centre.
“I am a musician and a neurologist, and I have seen many patients who played music prior to their stroke or other motor impairment, who can no longer play an instrument or sing,” said Deuel. “I thought it would be great to use a brain-computer instrument to enable patients to play music again without requiring movement.”
Inspired by insect wings that kill bacteria on contact, Indian researchers have developed a method to treat the surface of titanium orthopaedic implants at nano-scales so that they resist bacterial infection — a complication that often develops following surgery.
Orthopaedic implants like hip joints, knee joints, plates and screws can be treated to resist bacteria without the use of antibiotics, says a paper published online in Scientific Reports (23 January).
On 26th January this year I had the pleasure of watching 20th Century Fox’s new film Hidden Figures with a group of school girls from Manchester. This was an exclusive premiere screening organised by the Manchester United Foundation, preceded by a panel Q&A which allowed the girls to find out what it is really like to work in a STEM career. My fellow panel members were Ginny Buckley (broadcaster and motoring journalist), Anita Bernie (Director of Spacecraft Platforms at Surrey Satellite Technology), Hazel Macnamara (Audit Partner at PWC) Elspeth Finch (Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Innovators’ Network) and Rachel Riley (mathematician and presenter of Countdown).
Virtual reality and adaptive learning could soon become essential additions to the modern teachers’ toolkit. With games becoming more realistic than ever before, Greenwich University’s senior lecturer in disruptive technologies saw the perfect opportunity for innovation.
Dr Ioannis Paraskevopolous has been awarded a £30,000 industrial fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering and has teamed up with leading science and engineering company, Qinetiq, to bring his interactive learning experience to life. The Collective Innovative Training Environment, or xCITE as he calls it, is the digital classroom of the future.
Sean Gallagher is a senior additive manufacture development engineer at BAE Systems and a QEPrize Ambassador. We spoke to him to find out a little more about what additive manufacturing really is, and how it can revolutionise design and engineering in the world of aerospace.
What is additive manufacturing and how does it help?
Additive manufacture, or 3D printing, is still a relatively new technology, which has grown massively in the last decade. The growing availability of new metallic and plastic materials continues to develop the scope of the technology, and therefore the impact it can have.
Whilst still supporting modelling and rapid prototyping to help us speed up design development, we can now start to develop products which are more fit for purpose. These can be made quicker, are lighter and often cheaper than conventional methods would allow. All of this means we can be more adaptable to meet our customer’s needs, using a technology that allows us to be more responsive and affordable than ever before.
For years, Maia Weinstock, the deputy editor of MIT News, has been creating miniature LEGO figurines to honor and promote such scientists and engineers as MIT Institute Professor Emerita Mildred Dresselhaus, Vice President for Research Maria T. Zuber, and Department of Chemical Engineering head Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Chair Professor in Engineering. The figures are Weinstock’s playful way of boosting the visibility of scientists, in particular the work of female scientists.
Now, a set of LEGOs Weinstock created celebrating the history of women at NASA is about to blast off. On Tuesday, LEGO announced that Weinstock’s project, which spotlights five women who made historic contributions to the U.S. space program, has been selected to become an official LEGO set.