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.
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.
Four engineers responsible for the creation of digital imaging sensors were yesterday honoured with the world’s most prestigious engineering prize. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a £1million prize, celebrating world-changing engineering innovations.
Eric Fossum (USA), George Smith (USA), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan) and Michael Tompsett (UK) were announced as the winners by Lord Browne of Madingley, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, at the Royal Academy of Engineering.
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.
As the doors opened to this year’s CES tech show in Las Vegas, the latest in tech and gadgetry was unleashed on the world. With everything from smart hairbrushes to IoT-connected recycling devices on display, the hottest products hitting the stage all proclaimed their ‘intelligence’. But what does owning a ‘smart’ device actually mean?
The idea of artificial intelligence, or at least the notion of machine-based reasoning, has been knocking around since the late 1600s. Child prodigy and mathematician George Boole set about using his favourite subject to explain logic. He developed his idea into a new type of algebra which used only ‘true’ or ‘false’ statements. This algebra, or ‘Boolean logic’, became an essential tool in modern computing.
Every child, no matter where they are born, should have the right to a healthy life. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in Africa for a long time. Common killer diseases still claim a huge number of lives, and every day we are bombarded with images of pain in the media. These diseases have been the top causes of children’s death throughout the continent time and time again.
Nearly 1.4 million children under the age of five die from pneumonia each year. This accounts for one in five child deaths globally. All those human lives turn into one more news story, and while headlines might change, the pain that mothers endure does not easily go away.