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  • Harmonizing Humanity and Machines: Insights from ICRA2024

    Harmonizing Humanity and Machines: Insights from ICRA2024

    In May the 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) was hosted in Yokohama, Japan. The conference was nothing short of remarkable, drawing thousands of robotics enthusiasts, researchers, and industry leaders from around the globe. The theme this year being how robots and people can work together better. The conference’s live demonstrations were a highlight. Hundreds of robots competing in representative scenarios, highlighting their capabilities to the best of their abilities. From agile drones to humanoid machines, we witnessed real-world applications in action. These demonstrations underscored the power of robotics to transform industries, from manufacturing to disaster response. It was not clear how many end users were present, but there was certainly a massive…

  • Unlocking the Power of Predictive Maintenance - Part 1: The Promise and Challenges of Predictive Maintenance

    Unlocking the Power of Predictive Maintenance - Part 1: The Promise and Challenges of Predictive Maintenance

    Imagine a world where assets tell you exactly when they need maintenance, preventing costly breakdowns and downtime. This is the promise of Predictive Maintenance powered by Artificial Intelligence. In the ever evolving engineering world, integrating new and exciting technologies, Predictive Maintenance has been labelled a game changer for businesses aiming to optimise their maintenance practices. However, the challenges of actually implementing Predictive Maintenance often go unspoken. This blog series will dive deep into these challenges, exploring what Predictive Maintenance actually is, the hurdles to overcome with the data, and how to evaluate the outcomes. Traditional Asset Maintenance Within engineering industries, asset maintenance typically follows one of two approaches: Reactive…

  • Exploring advertising techniques in volume two of The Electrical Age

    Exploring advertising techniques in volume two of The Electrical Age

    Guest blog by Emily Raynor, University of Leeds This is the fifth of a series of blogs written by Liberal Arts students at the University of Leeds to celebrate the centenary of the Electrical Association for Women in 2024. This project has been supported by Professor Graeme Gooday. These blogs on early EAW activities are based on themes that the students selected from reading digitised versions of the first two volumes (1926-1935) of The Electrical Age (for Women). You can read Emily’s first blog here . Introduction The Electrical Association for Women published a quarterly journal from 1926 named The Electrical Age (until 1932 called The Electrical Age for Women ), which informed readers about electrical developments in domestic technology, along with reports about the Association’s…

  • IET Education Resources recognised at awards ceremony!

    IET Education Resources recognised at awards ceremony!

    The IET Education resources team were honoured to take home the Educational Resources Award (Secondary) from the Education Business Awards held in London on Wednesday 12 June. The award, recognising an organisation providing educational resources, products or services which support teaching and increase pupil engagement in the secondary schools sector, had some tough competition with organisations including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Amnesty International, Royal Geographical Society and the European Space Agency all shortlisted. Holly Margerison-Smith and I were very proud to be at the event representing IET Education where, in front of nearly 200 people, the nominees for each category were announced by presenter Ashley John-Baptiste a BBC broadcast journalist and presenter. The…

  • Mustang Sally…

    Mustang Sally…

    On this day in (engineering) history… June 18, 1983 - Space Shuttle program: STS-7, Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. Women have been in space before, so it isn’t as though they can’t live with the stresses it puts on mind and body. Valentina Tereshkova (1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982), from the USSR, have both been there and done that. Now. Saturday, June 18, 1983, Sally Ride will become the first US woman to do the same. Dr Sally K. Ride in 1984 Source: Wikimedia Commons Anyone for tennis? If the world had turned a little differently, Sally Ride might have been discussed as a tennis star, not an astronaut. She began playing tennis aged 10, and won a scholarship to a High School for Girls. At one point she was within the US top 20 on the junior…

  • Safety first: risk as a theme in the Electrical Age

    Safety first: risk as a theme in the Electrical Age

    Guest blog by Madeleine Smith, University of Leeds This is the fourth of a series of blogs written by Liberal Arts students at the University of Leeds to celebrate the Electrical Association for Women (EAW) centenary in 2024. This project has been supported by Professor Graeme Gooday. These blogs on early EAW activities are based on themes that the students selected from reading digitised versions of the first two volumes (1926-1935) of The Electrical Age (for Women). You can read Madeleine’s first blog here . Introduction The second volume of the Electrical Association for Women’s journal, the Electrical Age , covers the period from July 1930 to October 1935 and shows significantly greater focus on safety-related themes in the product advertisements than the first volume (1926-1930)…

  • Changing the internet, one Wikipedia entry at a time

    Changing the internet, one Wikipedia entry at a time

    Those of us who are interested in history have a big stake in the accuracy of the historical record. History changes as new records come to light, and as researchers bring new perspectives to old accounts. That’s why it’s so important that online resources like Wikipedia are kept updated. In 2016, the IET hosted its first Wikipedia event with the University of Leeds, the University of Kent and the Women’s Engineering Society. It started as an activity to commemorate the First World War, as many women working in engineering in the UK first entered the workforce in wartime. The success of this event and other WW1 focused activities led to the Women’s Engineering Society Centenary Trail, a national campaign to discover and publish the stories of women engineers using Wikipedia. One of the WES…

  • A Systems Engineer's journey through circuits, nuclear and sci-fi dreams

    A Systems Engineer's journey through circuits, nuclear and sci-fi dreams

    In the next of our 'My Engineering Career' blog series, we hear from EngX Community Member Ian Belger , a Strategic Digital Consultant at Jacobs, volunteer for the IET Nuclear Engineering Network and a Chartered Fellow of the IET. Ian tells us about his career in the Nuclear Industry and some of his proudest moments as an Engineer: My name is Ian Belger. I’m 62 years old and I now work for Jacobs as a Strategic Digital Consultant. In July 1985, I graduated with an Electrical and Electronic degree, followed by a PhD in Control Systems, achieved in 1991. During my early career I worked on the design of plant control systems (PLCs, SCADA systems and DCS systems). As I moved companies and progressed upwards, I took up more managerial / leadership roles, although still within the broad context…

  • 2023 winner of the IET Control and Automation Doctoral Dissertation Prize

    2023 winner of the IET Control and Automation Doctoral Dissertation Prize

    Each year the Control and Automation Technical Network is delighted to offer a Doctoral Dissertation Prize. The Prize recognises a student for their research excellence in the field of Control and Automation. The award is open to all relevant students who were awarded their PhD in the general area of Control and Automation, at a UK university In 2023 the Technical Network awarded the Prize to Dr Kaiwen Chen from Imperial College London for his paper titled 'Adaptive Control for Time-Varying Systems: Congelation and Interconnection'. Kaiwen Chen received the B.Sc. degree (Hons.) in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA, and the B.Eng. degree in automation from the Elite Program of the Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, in 2016, the M…

  • The rise and fall of the floating ship

    The rise and fall of the floating ship

    On this day in (engineering) history… June 4, 1910 - Christopher Cockerell, English engineer, invented the hovercraft (d. 1999) On Saturday, June 4, in the summer of 1910, anyone standing outside ‘Wayside’, a house on Cavendish Avenue, in the university city of Cambridge, would have noticed the comings and goings of a birth in the family that lived there - midwife, a doctor, family members. The Cockerell family who lived at Wayside were famous already, their newborn son, Christopher would make them even more famous by inventing the hovercraft. Sir Christopher Cockerell in 1976 Source: Wikimedia Commons Famous father and his famous friends Christopher’s father, Sir Sydney Cockerell was a typographer and Director of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum. Before that, he had been secretary…

  • IET France Local Network visit to ITER and the Observatoire de Haute Provence (OHP) 27th-28th May 2024

    IET France Local Network visit to ITER and the Observatoire de Haute Provence (OHP) 27th-28th May 2024

    The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) France Network in partnership with the Institute of Civil Engineers organized a visit to the ITER construction site and the Observatoire de Haute Provence for their respective members and guests. The ITER visit included a tour of the construction site including the main building and the tokamak ‘pit’ in which the reactor will be assembled as well as a presentation provided by Ms Margaret Graham, IET Honorary Fellow and Project Manager in charge of the Ion Cyclotron Project (the plasma resonance heating system), in which she outlined some of the great engineering challenges in constructing the research reactor. ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) has been in construction since 2007 and is currently expected to be…

  • The Application of Artificial Intelligence in Functional Safety

    The Application of Artificial Intelligence in Functional Safety

    The concern is not with the raw engineering challenges of developing the software and hardware parts of the solution, or with the nuances of creating a robust AI component, but with the understanding and successful integration of these solutions into our everyday lives. Many of the components within systems that utilise AI are not built in the same way as software and hardware components and therefore traditional systems development practices and associated methodologies do not account for the additional challenges faced during the development of AI. Moreover, the methods and techniques used to implement an AI algorithm are very different to those recommended under conventional safety standards. Hence, there is a ‘gap’ in being able to demonstrate that AI complies with conventional good practice…

  • Buzz On! Applying Artificial Intelligence, Signal, and Image Processing to Monitor the wellbeing of Honeybees

    Buzz On! Applying Artificial Intelligence, Signal, and Image Processing to Monitor the wellbeing of Honeybees

    Smart Hive? I thought that was about controlling your Central Heating … Hives certainly featured in the May IET Central London Network evening lecture, but as the home for Honeybees, a species vital for both our food supply and the general ecosystem. Dr Gordon Hunter , Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Kingston University explained how monitoring bees in hives can detect and predict important events in the bee colony’s life cycle. Dr Hunter explained that honey production is somewhat of a sideshow, and the main purpose of bees is the pollination of crops and other flowering plants. But numbers are in decline due to a number of reasons including parasites e.g. the Varroa Mite ; habitat changes; pesticides; poor husbandry of bees ( apiculture ); and perhaps an unknown…

  • Amsterdammed!

    Amsterdammed!

    On this day in (engineering) history… Construction of the Afsluitdijk is completed, Netherlands, May 28, 1932 Your country is in constant danger of flooding and when, during one dreadful night, your coastline is devastated by a huge storm - ships wrecked, homes destroyed, and people killed - what do you do to stop it happening again? Build Europe’s longest dam, the Afsluitdijk. A satellite photo of the Afsluitdijk, The Netherlands, 30 June 2018. The Afsluitdijk changed the Zuiderzee into the IJsselmeer. To the north of the Afsluitdijk is the Wadden Sea, to the south is the Ijsselmeer. Source: Wikimedia Commons The issue The Netherlands is referred to as one of the Low Countries for a reason. Mostly flat, with the currents, tides and winds of the North Sea battering the coast,…

  • CAWE 24 comes to Belfast

    CAWE 24 comes to Belfast

    The Centre for Wireless Innovation (CWI) at Queen’s University Belfast, located in the historic Titanic Quarter, have just hosted the IET’s 12th Colloquium on Antennas, Wireless and Electromagnetics (CAWE) where over 40 young and experienced professionals were able to network and learn from each other at the intimate and friendly event. There were 6 posters and 9 presentations. (Several of the CAWE 24 presenters). Dr Phil Catherwood, Senior Future Systems Architect (Thales UK), described the role of a Future System Architect and the skills needed. Dr Anil Shukla (Senior Fellow QinetiQ) discussed research exploitation and how to engage with different types of stakeholders. Dr Neil Buchanan (above) discussed the challenges and the future of wireless power transfer (WPT) technologies…

  • Artificial Intelligence and the art of discovery

    Artificial Intelligence and the art of discovery

    AI has been used to create find and create a new material that could revolutionise not just the humble battery, but the time required to find new breakthroughs On January 9, this year, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Microsoft announced a breakthrough in the quest for a new material to reduce the role of lithium in battery technology. Artificial Intelligence The involvement of Microsoft points to the most interesting factor in this announcement – the new material was not discovered after decades of meticulous research, but over the space of 80 hours. It took only nine months from project launch to building a prototype battery and using it to power a light bulb. The key was the use of generative artificial intelligence, provided by Microsoft’s Azure Quantum team. …

  • Leading the charge into the future…the man finding new ways to store energy

    Leading the charge into the future…the man finding new ways to store energy

    Professor Yulong Ding has had a long and distinguished career across several fields of engineering, going back some thirty years. Now he has turned his attention to finding new ways to store energy… The way energy is generated is changing; moving away from fossil fuels to something less polluting and more sustainable. The catch is that, as with many solutions, it creates its own problem – renewable energy sources are not always available when they’re needed. What to do? The issue is complex, difficult, and not as straightforward as we might like, with each silver lining bringing its own set of clouds. The absence of heat It was a cold day when we met on teams to discuss energy storage, Professor Yulong Ding , (founding Chamberlain Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham…

  • Challenges, compromise and creativity in energy storage

    Challenges, compromise and creativity in energy storage

    Perhaps the only good thing to come out of climate change, other than moving to net-zero carbon in our economy, is the motivation it has given engineers to be creative in finding alternatives to oil and gas… For all the technological and industrial progress we have seen in the last 200 years, the great disadvantage is that it has been powered by fossil fuels, with all the attendant problems they bring. When is the Sun coming out? The move away from fossil fuels to renewables has one disadvantage - renewables are inconsistent. The sun does not always shine, the wind does not always blow, in contrast to fossil fuels, which are ‘always there.’ Even so, moving to net-zero carbon is essential to any attempts to mitigate and stabilise the problems thrown up by climate change. As with anything…

  • Giving back to the engineering community

    Giving back to the engineering community

    After 50 years in the engineering sector, Graham Tubbs felt it was time to give back to the industry that provided him with endless opportunities. By donating to the Futures Fund he’s providing financial support to the next generation of engineers. Graham Tubbs, CEO of TaG GH Consulting, has been an IET member his entire working life, joining as a graduate member in 1966, and most recently becoming an IET Fellow in 2016. It was around this time that his relationship with the organisation strengthened, as he began to support the IET’s scholarships and bursary schemes through financial donations. “As you get to a certain age you realise how important the opportunities presented to you were and I became more thankful for what I’d been offered. “Looking back on my…

    Elsa Scott
  • IET Cambridge Volunteers at the Cambridge Festival 2024

    IET Cambridge Volunteers at the Cambridge Festival 2024

    This year's Cambridge Festival took place over two weeks in March and once again the IET Cambridge Network ran a stand during the Family Weekend Event on 23rd and 24th March. We've been representing the IET at the Festival for many years and this year we were again joined by IET volunteers from the local area, keen to share their enthusiasm for engineering and technology. The team included experienced engineers, young professionals and undergraduates who ran demonstrations of engineering principles and answered questions about engineering and the IET. Demonstrations included energy generation and electromagnetic induction and we did experiments with magnets and plasmas. Interactive demos always work best and the chance for children to build an LED torch to take home has always been a popular…

  • Innovation Management TN event: Delivering R&D and innovation by using UK Universities - Your feedback needed!

    Innovation Management TN event: Delivering R&D and innovation by using UK Universities - Your feedback needed!

    The IET’s Innovation Management Technical Network has been focusing on the challenges faced by UK innovation at its early stages. This addresses the rocky path to commercialisation, risk reduction, addressing the need for access to technical support and building an infrastructure to make innovation work. There are many benefits to R&D activity which combines company innovation challenges with university skills, assets and staff. A how to do this event may be needed, and this blog seeks to ask if this initiative might be useful to the IET community. We are considering an event which would offer companies easy access to all UK universities. It would include the start-ups and projects from the Set Squared group of universities which have raised over £4.4bn for start-ups and offer access to…

  • A close-run thing

    A close-run thing

    Space is a dangerous environment and getting there is equally hazardous. Then there is human ingenuity to get around any problem… May 14, 1973 - Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched. We have been here before. Cape Canaveral is about to see the launch of another Saturn V rocket, the massive ‘candle’ that took astronauts to the moon and back. But that program ended in December due to budget cuts. What else can NASA do with its spare Saturn Vs and the 400,000 strong workforce that made the Apollo missions possible? Build and launch the first US space station, build and launch Skylab. Skylab configuration as planned Source: Wikimedia Commons In the 1950s, figures such as Arthur C. Clarke and Wernher Von Braun (by now technical director of the US Army’s ballistic…

  • The story of Roy Barker, a physicist with 70 years of membership at the IET

    The story of Roy Barker, a physicist with 70 years of membership at the IET

    Guest blog by Peter Barker Why this blog? This story is about the achievements of a far from ordinary scientist who made a major contribution to the digital age but received little recognition. My late father, Ronald Hugh Barker, died just three weeks short of his hundredth birthday. He kept telling me he didn’t want a party! This was typical of ‘Roy’ as he was a very modest, quiet, unassuming and kind man. He became a member of the IEE in 1944 and was elected a Fellow in 1960. He remained a member until his death, a period over 70 years. During this time, he served for many years on committees and became Chairman of the Control and Automation Division in 1971. The family is lucky to have been left a 170-page book of the ‘Barker Family History’ which Roy and his wife Wendy spent over…

  • Autonomous UAVs: a system architecture perspective

    Autonomous UAVs: a system architecture perspective

    The autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drone market is growing at a fast pace, with applications including maintaining security, monitoring assets, providing an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) function in the defence industry [10], facilitating rapid logistics [7] [8] and providing passenger services with Urban Air Mobility (UAM) [9]. How are autonomous UAV systems designed, allowing the drone to fly without a human pilot? What components are required for an autonomous UAV system? This article gives a brief overview of the system architecture for a battery-powered electrical copter-based UAV system. An autonomous UAV drone system often follows the Drone Flight Stack architecture as shown in Figure 1. This graphic shows three major parts: the UAV Drone, the Communications…