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Issue 80

September 2019

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A side-profile X-ray of a head, where wires which are post-operative electrodes have been inserted into the brain.
  • Health & medical
  • Issue 80

Bioelectronic devices to treat neurological disorders

Cochlear implants and heart pacemakers have drastically improved the lives of many people. The engineering behind implantable medical devices as digital technologies and miniaturisation promise to deliver new therapies and help us understand how the nervous system works.

An aerial view of London's skyscraper buildings in the foreground with the River Thames behind them.
  • Civil & structural
  • Issue 80

Failed development to efficient office skyscraper

22 Bishopsgate is the tallest building in the City of London and the second tallest in western Europe. However, the most extraordinary feature of this new skyscraper is the ingenious structural engineering that has enabled the remains of an earlier, failed development to be transformed into a large efficient modern office block.

The inside of a factory with an aircraft wing being being lifted from a jig in Belfast.
  • Aerospace
  • Materials
  • Issue 80

Composites take off

The wing of the Airbus A220 won the Bombardier the 50th anniversary MacRobert Award for engineering innovation. It was the first certified aircraft wing made using resin transfer infusion, resulting in a smaller environmental impact from its lighter weight and reduced manufacturing energy.

Quick read

Natalie Cheung is pictured with Dame Nancy Rothwell DBE DL FRS FMedSci, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, being awarded the Medal for Social Responsibility and Alumni Volunteer of the Year 2019.
  • Civil & structural
  • How I got here
  • Issue 80

Q&A: Natalie Cheung

Natalie Cheung is a STEM Ambassador Coordinator in London. She recruits and trains volunteer engineers to engage with young people through hands-on activities, careers events and mentoring. Natalie was a STEM Ambassador herself while working as a railway civil engineer.

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Brian Mwenda holding the sixth sense device and standing next to a visually impaired person smiling holding a white cane outside the gates of Kenya's Institute for the Blind.
  • Technology & robotics
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 80

Echo-location for navigation

The Sixth Sense is a handheld device that uses echo-location and haptic feedback to help people with visual impairments and blindness get about safely.

A well lit large room at the Erith warehouse, containing cube-shaped robots with wheels, on a large grid as a floor.
  • Technology & robotics
  • Issue 80

Hives of activity

Ocado’s new automated warehouse in Erith is one of the most sophisticated in the world, with thousands of robots collaborating to pick and pack customer grocery orders. Neil Cumins spoke to Paul Clarke CBE, Ocado’s Chief Technology Officer, to find out more about the innovations that make the online supermarket work.

A laptop with green dotted vertical lines taking up the screen.
  • Technology & robotics
  • Opinion
  • Issue 80

AI is not magic but it is complex

Mandy Chessell CBE FREng, an IBM Distinguished Engineer, looks at the ethical responsibilities for engineers developing AI technology and what legal and governmental frameworks that still need to be established so that it can be trusted.

Jo da Silva sitting at a table, having a conversation with another person.
  • Civil & structural
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Profiles
  • Issue 80

Structures for a sustainable society

The growth of megacities and factors such as climate change have changed the nature of the challenges engineers face. Jo da Silva OBE FREng warns of the growing need to consider the resilience of the infrastructure that sustains cities and their inhabitants.

  • Food & agriculture
  • Issue 80

Farming in the desert

Simple structures that use seawater to keep the growing environment cool are being used to farm fruit and vegetables in the Horn of Africa. Charlie Paton, Founder and Director of Seawater Greenhouse, discusses the challenges of creating a greenhouse that cools instead of heats.

Quick read

A transparent electric kettle boiling water which is bubbling inside.
  • Electricals & electronics
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 80

Kettle switch-off

Used every day by millions of people across the world, electric kettles use a surprisingly simple method to overcome a long-standing problem: how to switch themselves off.