Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Hidden engineering

Insect inspired: nanopillars help orthopaedic implants resist infection

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 10 July 2017

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).

Read More

Fresh Check: The smart solution to food spoilage

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 7 July 2017

People around the world throw away more than 1.3 billion tonnes of out-of-date food each year. At Fresh Check, we’re guilty of wasting both food and money by throwing away food that is past its use-by date. In fact, almost everyone we’ve spoken to has walked the fine line between saving money and food poisoning a few times, or at least had an argument about it with their families, friends or flatmates! The same is certainly true for us, and it was from this frustration that Fresh Check was born.

Our simple technology started as a smart solution to detect food spoilage which centred on visualising harmful bacterial contamination with a blue to orange colour change. The material remains blue in safe settings and turns orange in areas that might cause harm. Since developing the initial technology our product and business model have grown and changed, but we’ve always stuck to the detection of poor hygiene. Now we look not only at food packaging, but have developed a blue to orange colour-changing spray for use in restaurants, hospitals, food producing plants and at home, to warn users of any health risks.

Read More

Researchers engineer shape-shifting noodles

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 5 July 2017

Sheets of gelatin transform into 3-D shapes when dunked in water; could save food shipping costs.

Jennifer Chu| MIT News Office

MIT News

“Don’t play with your food” is a saying that MIT researchers are taking with a grain or two of salt. The team is finding ways to make the dining experience interactive and fun, with food that can transform its shape when water is added.

Read More

Nanofilter: A move to impact millions of lives

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 4 July 2017

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®.

Read More

Hidden in plain sight

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 3 July 2017

What actually is engineering?

We all know the engineering heroes who forged our path through the industrial revolution and pulled the world into the modern age. For example, we have Brunel to thank for pioneering not only rail travel in Great Britain, but for extending their reach to the shore of America with his giant, iron-hulled steamer ships. Thomas Edison, an American inventor, gave us the record player, motion picture camera and the electric light bulb. Our connected world was made possible only by Alexander Graham Bell’s original telephone; and Tesla was a household name long before Elon Musk and co. released their electric vehicles in 2008.

After the industrial revolution, however, things get a little murky. Our perception of engineering descends into a muddle of hard hats and high-vis jackets, still rooted deeply in the infrastructure of our daily lives; our roads, railways and buildings are all definitely the products of engineering. But what about everything else?

Read More