On the 12 January 2010, a catastrophic earthquake struck the Caribbean island of Hispaniola; its epicentre just 16 miles outside Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Over the following week, more than 52 aftershocks rumbled across the country, laying waste to more than a quarter of a million homes and taking the lives of an estimated 160,000 people.
In a bid to add their expertise to the effort, a pair of design graduates from Chicago set about creating a product to assist the post-disaster relief operations. With the primary survival needs of food, water and shelter already in hand, their thoughts turned to the night-time dangers that haunted the cities of emergency tents. With this came their solution; LuminAID.
When it comes to building, an awful lot of material goes to waste, both at the birth and death of a project. In fact, the construction industry sends millions of tonnes of waste to landfill every year, at a huge cost to itself.
In addition to this, new laws mean that by 2020 70% of all construction and demolition waste in UK must be recycled, while none will be allowed to go to landfill. This, coupled with the cost of waste disposal, has set the construction industry on the hunt for materials that are both good for the environment and good for their bottom lines.
Dr Sam Chapman and his spin-out KENOTEQ think they have the solution to just such a problem.
SafetyNet Technologies’ primary goal is to design and build devices that increase the selectivity of commercial fishing practices. By being more selective with the fish caught, the industry becomes more sustainable. Light, which has been of interest to the fishing gear technology community since the 1970s, can be used as a tool to achieve this.
SafetyNet Technologies builds sophisticated LED systems that enables experimentation into how light can segregate between ages and species of fish. We then apply this knowledge to create simple sets of lights that help commercial crews catch the right fish.
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.
Who hasn’t played with building blocks when they were kids? There is no doubt that the castles, vehicles and miniature cities of our childhoods were the stuff of legend.
Yet games of this nature—those that enable you to design, construct and even problem-solve—are more than mere playthings. They stimulate motor skills and hand-eye coordination, they promote analytical thinking, and they encourage creativity through invention.
On Wednesday 1 February, we will be unveiling the winning design of the 2017 Create the Trophy competition. The top entry will then be 3D printed by BAE Systems and transformed into the iconic QEPrize trophy, to be presented to the winners of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering at Buckingham Palace later this year.
For the first time ever, this year’s contest was open to entries from all around the world, and we were blown away by the number and quality of the submissions. Entrants from 32 countries worldwide took part in the competition, giving the judges thousands of trophies to choose from. The expert panel of judges, led by Science Museum director Ian Blatchford, were then tasked with whittling the ten best designs down to just one winner.
We’ve all wanted to change how we feel at some point. Perhaps you drink coffee to feel more alert before arriving at work. Or maybe you’ve considered taking up yoga to help wind down at the end of the day.
But three years ago, a mechanical engineer, an electronics engineer, an industrial designer and a quantum physicist sat down and asked “What if we can use technology to naturally change how we feel, think and behave?” The group of students had first met on the Innovation Design Engineering joint MSc/MA course at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.
In our consumer-driven society, we have become removed from craft. The products we rely on are built in huge factories far away. Can a sense of craftsmanship be reintroduced into a 21st century domestic setting? What might this look like?
Materials such as polymers can be highly adaptable, but their applications are often limited. As a design engineer, I saw the potential to create a material system that could be customised and crafted by the end user. Initially, I observed the relationship between materials, tools, instructions and the time involved in traditional crafts, like wood working. These often result in changing a material permanently after cutting. Considering that the user might not have expertise in such fields, I wanted to develop a material that could accommodate the learning process by being reversible. The key to the success of the system would be how easy it is to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and functional end product. The result is a reversible ‘plug and play’ material system.