The team at UKGM, the hospital where Watson will be based
From drones that deliver essential medical supplies, to surgical robots so skilled they can remove cataracts from human eyes, machines in medicine are becoming the norm. As this year draws to a close, IBM’s Watson welcomes us into the ‘cognitive era of health’. Billed by its creators as a ‘new partnership between humanity and technology’, Watson is bringing artificial intelligence to the front line of healthcare.
Meet the designers with their heads in the stars, competing to build sustainable cities on our nearest neighbour; Mars. Manufacturing is evolving here on Earth as technologies like large-scale 3D printing gain popularity. Students and professionals worldwide have this year taken their innovations a step further in the Mars City Design Competition.
The contest is the brainchild of Mars City Design CEO, founder and ‘Marschitect’, Vera Mulyani. The aim; designing and innovating a sustainable city on Mars. Entrants used their designs to solve the everyday problems of living on Mars. These covered categories looking at structural design, a city infrastructure and agriculture in space.
The landscape of manufacturing is constantly changing. In developed countries, the reliance on heavy manufacturing is declining and factories use fewer dirty, dull and dangerous processes. These roles are instead becoming automated, with robots working alongside humans to maximise efficiency.
Computer vision is one technology that has gained popularity in factories around the world. Using machine vision standardises quality control and removes human error. As a camera scans over a production line, its picks up faults or flaws in the products and marks them for removal. A team of engineers from Imperial College is even working on a ‘bionic eye’ with an artificial retina. The ‘eye’ learns on the job, and recognises and removes faulty products on the assembly line.
3D printing has exploded in popularity over the past two decades. From humble beginnings producing low-cost prototypes for manufacture, the process is now used around the world in seemingly limitless scenarios. Additive manufacturing has been used to print a bicycle, a sculpture, and even a pizza to be sent into space! But could 3D printing structures be the answer to the housing crisis hitting cities across the world? French start-up XtreeE thinks it can.
Working to a much larger scale than the average desktop printer, XtreeE provides engineers and construction companies with fabrication tools for whole projects. The start-up is the brainchild of three architects, Clément Gosselin, Nadja Gaudillière and Marc Dalibard. Collectively, the team are experts in creating innovative designs from 3D printed, cement-based materials. XtreeE also employs a host of world-class engineers and architects, dedicated to producing low cost, environmentally responsible structures.
We have three copies of the fantastic book Science and the City by Laurie Winkless to give away! This book explores the science and engineering behind complex cities across six continents, going behind the scenes to reveal the mechanics behind the metropolis. To be in with the chance of winning, please head over to instagram.com/qeprize, where you can follow us and like the photo. Winners will be picked on Friday 16th September. Good luck!
QEPrize Director, Keshini Navaratnam, meets three engineers responsible for creating some of the world’s most iconic landmarks.
Joining Keshini is Bill Baker, the man behind the Burj Khalifa. The superstructure in Dubai takes the title of tallest building in the world. Michel Virlogeux gives his thoughts on designing the breath taking Millau Viaduct. Completing the trio is Ilya Marotta, heading up the colossal Panama Canal Expansion Project.
We currently live a world of high performance materials that have been engineered to provide numerous improvements to our quality of life. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that as our society continues to grow, we are placing a growing strain on the environment through the creation, use and disposal of such materials. For example, often non-renewable resources are consumed, or end of life options for products are limited resulting in items being thrown into landfill. Therefore, the engineering focus of tomorrow must be in identifying ways of minimising the negative impact that our materials have on the environment.