Dr Stephen Hicks started OxSight from his lab at the University of Oxford. He set out to develop a wearable prosthetic for people with visual impairments. Twelve months later, the product is getting ready to go to market.
Unlike many start-ups and spin out companies, Oxsight has a very specialised audience. The product’s target audience are those registered as legally blind. Its unique selling point is that the smart specs’ technology can allow people to see again.
People across the world see one of the most important roles of engineering as inspiring new innovations that can change and improve society around us.
Paul Westbury, Group Technical Director of Laing O’Rourke explained how the innovative nature of engineers is not only helping to drive economic growth, but to change perceptions. “Engineers are increasingly seen as smart, creative and sociable people who are well connected with the world around them,” he said. “A welcome shift from the dated stereotypes of the past!”
I invented a low-cost water filter called Nanofilter®, which cleans contaminated water in order to make it drinkable. Right now, about 12,000 people use the filter every day and the plan is to impact millions of lives.
Growing up, my community in Tanzania didn’t have clean drinking water, and I will never forget how horrible that was. As a child, I would get worms because the water I drank was so dirty, and I wished someone would make it easy for us to access clean water. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and help solve the problem facing my community: I did a PhD in Chemical Engineering and invented the Nanofilter®.
Working with other teams and individuals is one of the most vital aspects of engineering, allowing teams to achieve far more than they could ever do alone. Not only can projects be completed faster and cheaper when working together, but pooling and knowledge and expertise can act as a key driver for innovation.
At the Royal Academy of Engineering, an Industrial Fellowship scheme gives researchers the opportunity to do just that. Joining forces with industrial partners, academics from across the field of engineering can undertake their own collaborative research projects in an industrial environment.
Google’s Advanced Technology and Project Group, or ATAP, has developed an innovative user- controlled technology; embedding sensors and feedback devices into clothing.
As a small but intense research and development incubator, ATAP project leaders have just 24 months to turn their ideas into finished products. ‘Project Jacquard’ plans to integrate connected electronics directly into garments, allowing the wearer to interact with their mobile device simply by tapping their sleeve.
The novel concept uses thin metallic, and therefore conductive, alloys combined with a mixture of natural and synthetic fibres. By blending conductive threads with silks, cottons and polyesters, the team can weave touch and gesture interactivity seamlessly into any item of clothing.
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.
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.