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Issue 82

March 2020

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A ground air source heat pump outside of a building.
  • Energy
  • Environment & sustainability
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 82

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) have been used for many years in North America, Sweden and Germany. These geothermal systems harness natural heat from underground to provide heating for buildings. Now they are being increasingly deployed in homes and commercial buildings in the UK.

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  • Food & agriculture
  • How I got here
  • Issue 82

Q&A: Ben Crowther

Ben Crowther is the Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of LettUs Grow, a Bristol company that designs modular aeroponic farming systems.

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A pregnant women lying down on a hospital bed, talking to a nurse. The women is wearing the Monica Novii wireless patch system on her belly
  • Health & medical
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 82

Wireless foetal monitor

The Monica Novii wireless patch system is a wearable device for women in labour that continuously monitors the baby’s heartbeat. It has won many obstetric and engineering awards, including the Campbell Mitchell Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Vint Cerf standing in front of a room of people in a lecture hall.
  • Software & computer science
  • Opinion
  • Issue 82

Our 21st century information superhighway

Vinton G. Cerf, an American internet pioneer, explains how the highspeed transfer of information has become an integral part of our digital society, and touches on the infrastructure initiatives which would make the internet and communications networks accessible across the whole globe.

A headshot of Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE.
  • Electricals & electronics
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Profiles
  • Issue 82

Life in electrifying times

Professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, elected President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, has worked as a transmission and distribution engineer. He joined the academic world when the electric industry was going through a business and technology revolution, becoming immersed in sustainable energy policy issues.

A concept image of a solar orbiter in space, facing the sun.
  • Aerospace
  • Issue 82

Flying close to the sun

A new European spacecraft, the Solar Orbiter, is set to improve our understanding of the Sun, including what gives rise to solar wind, a phenomenon that can affect technologies such as communications satellites and electric grids. The UK has invested €200 million in the €1.3 billion project and helped develop four of the instruments onboard.

A Virgin modified plane flying above Earth and launching a small satellite into low Earth orbit.
  • Aerospace
  • Issue 82

Launching low Earth orbit satellites from UK spaceports

Spaceports represent an ingenious solution to the logistical challenges of launching small satellites into orbit. Neil Cumins reports on two spaceports at opposite ends of the UK that will use different methods to launch low Earth orbit satellites into space.

  • Arts & culture
  • Design & manufacturing
  • Issue 82

From brass to recyclable plastic - the reinvention of musical instruments

The brightly coloured trombones made of recyclable ABS plastic, pBone, weighs less than a kilogram and costs a tenth of its metal cousin. It's driven a demand for a range of polymer-made instruments, including a trumpet.