Rishi Vegad is an engineering student and an amputee wearing the world’s most intelligent prosthetic limb. Linx, from Blatchford, a leading supplier of prosthetic devices, is the world’s first fully integrated limb system. It was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious MacRobert Award in 2016 and Rishi has played a unique role in helping to develop and test it.
Rishi, tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am currently studying mechanical engineering at Kingston University and will graduate next year. I haven’t yet decided which field to specialise in after I graduate, but at the moment, I think I would like to work in the design and manufacture of prosthetics, or alternatively use my mechanical background to focus more on aerospace engineering.
“Hello, I can’t move my hands or legs, could you make me a smartphone I could use?” This was the phone call I received around 5 years ago, that has completely changed my life.
My name is Oded Ben Dov and I used to write apps and games for smartphones. After appearing on TV with a game we developed that was controlled by head gestures, I got the phone call above from Giora Livne. Giora, a released Lieutenant Colonel from the Israeli Navy, became paralyzed 10 years ago after falling off a ladder and hitting his spine.
I had no former acquaintance with disabilities before Giora called, but once he presented the problem so concisely – “can you make me a smartphone I could use?” – I knew I found a calling beyond just games. It was a chance to put my skills and knowhow towards serving a much deserving population. It also presented a strong case for the use of gesture technology, which until today has been lacking in other fields.
Hidden away in the Lentink lab at Stanford University, a dedicated team of engineers – and a parrotlet named Gary – have been uncovering the secrets of avian flight. With a brand new method to record how a bird’s wing changes shape in flight, the team hopes to better understand the forces that keep them in the air.
These forces are never more challenged than inside city limits. As space to grow outwards is limited, our cities grow ever taller, bringing with them a ‘skyscraper wind’ effect. When wind collides with the side of a tall building it is directed towards the ground, creating downdraughts and gusty conditions at street level. Clusters of skyscrapers add to the effect, squeezing wind through narrow corridors.
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.
We’ve all been there, crossing our legs in the crowd as our favourite band tears up the stage, putting off the inevitable trip. Eventually, however, we all have to admit defeat and give in to the reveller’s worst nightmare: The Festival Portaloo.
Combining a minimalistic design with some innovative engineering, industrial design engineer Virginia Gardiner has found the answer to festivalgoer’s prayers. Loowatt is an environmentally friendly, waterless-flushing toilet, bringing high-tech hygiene to the campsite; the award-winning design captures waste and turns it into clean, green electricity.
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.
Dr Robert Langer, winner of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, has made headlines again this week with his latest in potentially life-changing drug therapies.
Hidden within the innermost section of your ear are thousands of tiny hair cells, detecting sound waves and transforming them into signals to send to our brains. These hair cells allow us to hear our favourite music, chat to our friends and listen out for the doorbell. Yet damage to these delicate cells is the leading cause of hearing loss, meaning more than 360 million people around the world miss out on these sounds.
The best – and worst – part of working in a startup is that there’s always something that needs to be done urgently, and it’s usually not something you’ve ever done before. When starting new projects, you sometimes benefit from what you’ve learned on previous ones, or from the experiences and best practices of your colleagues. Most of the time, however, you’re learning on the go, trying to figure out all the parameters of a problem while trying to solve it. Even when you find a solution, it will often still only be a prototype or the first iteration of many to come.