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.
Services like Uber and Deliveroo are transforming the relationship between employment, income and benefits. As ‘gig economy’ workers, the drivers earn money for each completed task, rather than in the form of a salary or hourly wage, making income and working hours unpredictable. Gig economy workers need an innovative solution in order to regain autonomy and control over their work.
Max is a software solution designed to address income volatility in the quickly growing gig economy. We developed Max during our final semester of Global Innovation Design, a dual degree master’s programme at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Using predictive analytics software, Max enables gig economy workers to make strategic decisions to maximise their earnings.
The concept of the ‘Future City’ is ever evolving and adapting around human needs and wants, in all aspects of life. One such element is the freedom of movement, and more recently, the connectivity of people and places through efficient and easy transportation.
We have become used to this freedom, having the power of being able to move where we want, when we want with ease. With vehicles readily available across the world, the advancement in technology has resulted in a complex but exciting challenge to the automotive industry, as it competes to keep up with the fast paced evolution of the ‘Future City’.
You may have heard of smart cities – a city that takes advantage of connected sensors and devices to make smart decisions based on real time data. But a new term has arrived: ‘Future cities’. This can mean different things to different people. To me, a future city is one that can provide a thriving economy and good quality of life with a minimal environmental footprint. It is resilient to stress and change such as global warming and an ageing population.