Wednesday evening saw the opening of nominations for the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering at the iconic Design Museum, London SE1. The buzzing reception was attended by more than 250 QEPrize Engineering Ambassadors, donor representatives and stakeholders, and hosted an exhibition of cutting edge engineering innovations.
Launching the event were speeches led by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid, and Sir Christopher Snowden, Chair of Judges for the 2017 QEPrize. Alongside highlighting the role of the QEPrize in inspiring the next generation of engineers to take up the challenges of the future, Lord Browne praised the excellent work of the Ambassador Network with the first screening of a new QEPrize video: ‘We Are Engineers’.
Keeping guests busy throughout the evening were a host of interactive displays and exhibits. In keeping with the event’s artistic venue, partygoers were met on entry by two full-scale replicas of classic art works. With a Monet on one side mirrored by a Van Gogh on the other, each piece was intricately 3D printed by Canon and allowed guests to see, and feel, every brush stroke of the masterpieces in minute detail.
Following from the classic masterpieces, guests were invited to create their own works of art with Luma’s YrWall, the world’s first interactive digital graffiti wall. Using the ultra-realistic spray cans against a 2 x 3 metre canvas, there was plenty of space to get creative. On a more musical note, Bare Conductive were on hand with Electric Paint and Touch Boards, allowing guests to turn any surface into sensors, producing music, light and even movement at a single touch.
A static exhibition space down the centre of the event space provided the perfect spot to display the latest in innovation and design engineering, showcasing some of the highlights of Imperial College and the Royal College of Art’s Innovation Design Engineering course. Previous graduates of the course, GravitySketch, were also exhibiting at the event, demonstrating how 3D creation can be made as easy as doodling on a piece of paper with the aid of their new app.
An additional opportunity to get creative came from 3Doodler, the world’s first 3D printing pen. In honour of the QEPrize, 3Doodler brought along a range of great stencils that reflected the art of engineering, and put guests to the test in creating their own plastic sketches to take home.
However despite the location, the evening wasn’t just about design, and there were plenty of opportunities to get to see the more technology focused side of engineering. Rugged Rovers, a game developed by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Science Museum for the Engineer Your Future exhibition, allowed players to design a rover that would travel the furthest across a challenging alien landscape full of jumps, boulders and slopes.
Two virtual reality experiences allowed guests to escape the party and immerse themselves in another world. REWIND handed out the buckets and sponges with their game Pane in the Glass, which tasked players with earning their keep from cleaning windows, all while saving their lunch from hordes of hungry seagulls! On the other side of the gallery, Coatsink set players loose as telekinetic agents on a dangerous mission to recover a mysterious object from the grasp of a nefarious villain.
By far the most lovable exhibitors of the evening however were the Bold Hearts robot footballers. The team, made up of DARwIn-OP robots, are an autonomous robotic football team competing in the RoboCup, the World Cup of robotic football, with the University of Hertfordshire. Able to kick, dribble, pass, keep and score, the end goal of the RoboCup is to beat the FIFA World Cup champions in 2050.
Alongside launching the nominations, the evening served to celebrate and promote engineering, demonstrating its importance in society, a theme that is at the heart of the QEPrize. To find out more information on the nominations process, click here.
To see more photos from the event, please visit our photo gallery.