In the week that the Royal Society celebrated its 350th anniversary, The Engineer returned to the revered scientific academy today for its fourth Technology & Innovation Awards ceremony.
Hosted by Robert Llewellyn – best known for his role as Kryten in Red Dwarf and currently fronting his own unique take on the chat show format in Carpool – the awards acknowledged engineering excellence emanating from collaborative engineering projects in ten categories.
The top prize, the Grand Prix Award, went to Southampton University Medical School, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust (Southampton General Hospital, Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics), and Smith & Nephew for their orthopaedic stem cell concentrator.
Also the winner in the Medical Technology category, the winning device produces concentrated stem cells from a bone marrow sample taken during surgery, which could significantly improve the outcome of surgery on hard-to-heal fractures.
‘This was a fantastic example of cross-sector collaboration on technology in one of the UK’s key emerging technology sectors,’ commented Jon Excell, editor of The Engineer and chairman of the judging panel. ‘It could potentially make an enormous difference to many people’s lives.’
Roke Manor Research, Blue Bear Systems, Bristol University, MBDA and SEAS DTC won the Aerospace category for their Helicopter UAV landing system that enables an unmanned helicopter to land without any support from ground-based systems. Capable of landing on ground targets and moving vehicles, HUAV is now being developed into a standalone product for fixed and rotary wing vehicles.
Defence and Security
The Defence and Security award went to Manchester University and Rapiscan for their RTT80 rapid 3D scanning system, which combines the quality of a CT image with the speed of an X-Ray system to detect anomalies in the baggage of airline passengers. Field tested at Manchester Airport and currently undergoing trials in Europe and the US, it is expected to enter production shortly.
For some, a visit to London isn’t complete without a journey in one of the capital’s iconic black cabs. Intelligent Energy, Lotus Engineering, LTI, TRW Conekt, and the Technology Strategy Board – winners of the Energy category – believe the ubiquitous mode of transport can be made greener and have developed the Fuel-cell hybrid taxi.
Producing zero emissions on the road, able to cover 250 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, and refuelled in less than five minutes, the fuel cell black cab represents a step on the way to an entirely fuel-cell powered taxi fleet for the city.
The UK’s expertise in low energy lighting received a significant boost from Project TOPLESS, a collaboration between Thorn Lighting, Cambridge Display Technology and Durham University and winner of the Environmental Technology category.
Project TOPLESS received the award for addressing fundamental issues over the performance and production of light emitting polymers.
Technology to reduce an average sized home’s CO2 emissions by a quarter won Nottingham University and Roger Bullivant the Civil Engineering award for Systemfirst/Thermafoundation, a modular low carbon foundation and flooring system. Using less concrete than conventional approaches, the piles on which the flooring system rests can also double as heat-exchangers for a ground-source heat pump.
Automotive, Rail & Marine
Lotus, Jaguar Land Rover, Queen’s University Belfast; Bioethanol and Orbital Corp won the Automotive, Rail & Marine award for their Omnivore engine. Able to run on a variety of fuels the prototype engine combines variable compression ratio, direct injection and a two-stroke operating cycle, Omnivore could represent a major step forward in powertrain design.
Manufacturing & Process Innovation
The Manufacturing & Process Innovation category was won by Loughborough University, Econolyst, Bentley Motors, Alcon Corporation, Delphi, Virgin Atlantic, Boeing, and MTT Technologies whose ATKINS Project investigated low-carbon additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing techniques print components from scratch,generate very little waste and allow the production of complex components that couldn’t be made using traditional methods. The ATKINS project is helping to move these processes into the manufacturing mainstream.
A collaboration of RNIB, Harvard, Pixsan, Loquendo and TW Electronics picked up the Consumer Products category award for the Smartalk Freeview Box, the world’s first talking Freeview box which addresses accessibility issues surrounding the digital TV switchover.
Finally, the UK isn’t renowned for its large haul of medals come the Winter Olympics.
For this reason, Southampton University, British Skeleton Association, UK Sport, Sheffield Hallam University and BAE Systems have been named winners of the Sports Technology category for Project Blackroc, which helped Amy Williams win the Gold medal at this year’s winter Olympics.
Williams named her sled Arthur, which itself was the result of Project Blackroc, an R&D collaboration that sought to maximise the performance of sleds for the British skeleton bob team.
The British Skeleton Association has now equipped its squad of sliders with Blackroc sleds.
Click here for more information on the winners and the shortlisted entries.