Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Posts Tagged ‘Projects’

We are recruiting a new member of the team

In Jobs & Vacancies on 2017/05/02 at 10:09 am

We are recruiting a Research Associate in Advanced Composites Manufacturing for the Automotive Industry.

The manufacture of lightweight composites for the Automotive Industry requires of transformative engineering and science with the academic rigour to address the challenges presented. The creation of cost-effective automotive structural components will be carried out with Sonication technologies as a new manufacturing process for multifunctional lightweight materials that exhibit bespoke mechanical properties. We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with a background in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering and preferably with practical experience in Control and Instrumentation. We are passionate about developing our researchers so the post holder will benefit from a range of development opportunities.

The post will be based at the Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab at the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University

For more details and to apply: Jobs.ac.uk and the university website

An integrated approach towards zero net emissions via lightweight manufacturing

In Funding on 2017/03/14 at 4:05 pm

We have managed to secure funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK and Far UK Ltd to develop research that makes an impact on emissions savings from road vehicles.

My Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing Lab at Wolfson School and my industrial collaborator (Far UK ltd) have been awarded more than £250k to develop excellent science that allows the design and manufacture of low weight structures for vehicle chassis components. Low weight is beneficial for reduced tailpipe emissions for both existing internal combustion engine vehicles but also as an enabler for further electrification of the fleet. The manufacture of the optimised structures via the sonication process incurs another challenge: to achieve mass market weight reduction this needs to be done cost effectively.

This project is part of the Integrated Delivery Programme 13: Low Emission Vehicle Systems (IDP13): Stream 1 – Collaborative technical feasibility studies.

Applying International Standards to manage comfort

In Publications on 2017/03/01 at 6:46 pm

Have you ever seen the seat testing device at IKEA? We have used a very similar one in our study.

ikea_durability_test

IKEA durability test

Open cell polymeric foams can be tailored so that the support provided and the level of stability is customised to people’s needs. For those who are bed bound or wheelchair users the selection of a cushion can improve their health and general well being. Avoiding pressure points, managing sores and permitting air permeability are the three main design specifications that patients and clinicians aim to when choosing a cushion. In addition to that, a functional cushion, such as those who support lateral movements (e.g. leaning sideways to grab a glass of water and be helped to return to your initial position without compromising one’s stability) and protect from vibration and impacts (e.g. dropping off a curb), are the focus of our last research project.

My team and I have had the privilege to work with the biomechanics and physiotherapists at the SMART Centre at Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh to study how we can help their clinician colleagues understand cushion performance and therefore aid them with the prescription of these to patients and users.

The results from our study have been presented at the PMG 2012 Conference and recently published by the Assistive Technology journal (free e-prints can be collected here). This has allowed us to interact with the community that is preparing the new version of the ISO16840-2:2007 which will regulate developments in this area.

 

Baking with Sound: a successful industry-focussed research project

In Knowledge Transfer on 2015/02/11 at 10:15 am

The Baking with Sound project, a research project co-funded by industry and Innovate UK, has come to the end of its current funding. We have taken the technology from a ‘batch’ setting to a set of prototypes that can produce bakery foodstuff in an industrial environment. In TRL terms, we have ratcheted up about 4 levels. We have generated and protected IP and trained 2 students and 2 research associates. We gelled a working research team that had fun, traveled the UK extensively and ate lots of our own experimental samples. (Some of them were even nice).

We have shown that the sonication technology has a positive effect on the crumb structure and texture on baked products in general, and of ‘free-from’ product range in particular (e.g. gluten-free and low-salt). The next stop for us is the integration of the sonication technology in the commercially designed bakery equipment apparatus.

The Baking with Sound consortium was formed by Macphie of Glenbervie, Nortek Piezo, MONO Bakery Equipment and Fosters Bakery (as industrial partners), and Loughborough University (as the academic lead).

Assisting mums-to-be in water and house births

In Info on 2014/06/12 at 7:05 pm

The medical device we designed to help midwives monitor labour with minimum interruption has seen the light! Different newspapers and media have been attracted to our invention, a team effort from our colleagues in Univ of Edinburgh and NHS, Heriot-Watt University, and us in Loughborough.

This has been a great enterprising opportunity for us. Being able to form a team with engineers, designers, medics and business developers has been truly rewarding. We all showed great enthusiasm and reached out to understand each others’ ‘language’ so we could bring the project to a fruitful completion. Working with midwives for the development of a new medical device was great because they were able to provide us with insightful input during the design stages, and with useful feedback in the development phase.  We hope the device will help the midwives carry out their work in more comfortable conditions, and for future mothers-to-be to benefit from this device that allows them to experience a more dignifying labour.

The work has been presented at the Perinatal Medicine 2014 (Harrogate International Centre, Monday 9th – Wednesday 11th June 2014).

The press releases can be found here and here

More press material can be found here and here and here.

Making sense of standardisation

In Publications on 2013/11/18 at 12:27 am

Standardisation is that useful process that allows us engineers to share a common ‘plane of reference’ on which to base our conversations. It is useful to know that a material (say, a slab of titanium) has the same mechanical properties when it is measured in Loughborough, Sydney, Lima or Granada.

But sometimes standardisation goes too far on the other extreme. The over-translation from observation to technical definitions might turn an ISO norm into a document that is no longer useful for practical purposes. This is particularly risky when ISO norms attempt to tabulate and measure in ‘softer’ areas such as healthcare and rehabilitation.

In a piece of work recently published here, my colleagues from the NHS Scotland SMART Centre and we have restated some practical insight to an ISO norm that guides the characterisation of wheelchair cushions for a better guidance to prescription by clinicians.

Our work has been well received by the practising community and we look forward to continue working with them.

Ref: Hollington J., Hillman S.J., Torres-Sanchez C., Boeckx J., Crossan N., “ISO 16840-2:2007 load deflection and hysteresis measurements for a sample of wheelchair seating cushions”, Medical Engineering & Physics, in press. DOI:10.1016/j.medengphy.2013.10.010 

Meet the midwife!

In Knowledge Transfer on 2013/07/17 at 1:23 pm

And we met a lot of them! on the 28th June we visited the NHS Lothian’s Birth Centre, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, under the facilitation of our team leader, Dr Fiona Denison. We showed the practising midwives our designs and mock-ups and obtained user-specs from this first workshop of the ‘Waterbirthing Mirror’.

Workshop user-group at the Birth Centre

Workshop user-group at the Birth Centre

It was wonderful to see so many people with so much experience and enthusiasm willing to give us comments, ideas and feedback.
Thanks to Fiona and her team for making our stay so comfortable in their superb facilities at the Birthing Centre.

Water, mirrors, babies and Lego

In Knowledge Transfer on 2013/07/13 at 12:18 pm

These are Natacza and Mark. They are my Summer 2013 Design Team.

Natacza & Mark adventures

Natacza & Mark

Natacza and Mark are working on the ‘Mirror for waterbirths’ project, a collaboration among the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Loughborough, along with the NHS Lothian, and sponsored by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.

This is them doing some lego brainstorming for mechanisms and functional features.

lego_brainstorming

Concept generation well underway. The most difficult bit was explaining the guy at the airport why we were carrying those mock-ups in our hand-luggage.

Looking to access engineering expertise for your next R&D project? :: A webinar

In Knowledge Transfer, Seminars and Keynotes on 2013/03/12 at 10:21 am

Join Interface –The knowledge connection for business and Heriot-Watt University on 21st March (2pm-4pm) for this live and online event for businesses which will highlight the range of engineering expertise, new technologies and funding available within Heriot Watt University that could help your business.

Speakers:

Interface – The knowledge connection for business

Discover how to access the world class facilities and expertise available within Scotland’s academic network to develop and grow your business.

Laura Goodfellow, Senior Project Executive  – Got a business challenge? The answer could be in Scotland’s academia!

Heriot Watt University

Discover the various ways in which your business can access the engineering expertise and resources at Heriot Watt University.

Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez – Industry-led engineering design projects for undergraduate students

Dr Dawn Beddard- Industry-led physics based projects

Dr David Flynn – KTPs: knowledge transfer goes both ways between university and companies

Professor Marc Desmulliez – Research projects with Industry in the UK and beyond

Dr Iain McEwan – Navigating your way in University for Research and Knowledge transfer

Company Spotlight

A company’s perspective! – Discover the success that three businesses have achieved from collaborating with Heriot Watt University on their engineering projects.

Mr Stephen Roberts of Nightingale Intensiv

Mr Roy MacDonald of Glenhanze

Dr Mark Zwinderman of Aboleo

Who should attend?
The event is aimed at any company in any sector, who is interested in discovering how Scotland’s academic network could support its next engineering challenge.

Participation
The online streaming will give you the opportunity to watch the presentations live, participate in the discussion forum and ask questions from the comfort of your own office.

Register here

 

Economic Impact Launch – Heriot-Watt event

In Knowledge Transfer on 2012/12/10 at 2:15 pm

We gathered at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery on 4th December to celebrate Heriot-Watt’s economic impact on Scotland and the world.

Guests at the National Portrait Gallery

Guests at the National Portrait Gallery

You can see here a video that summarises a very impressive performance:

As part of the industrial collaboration and knowledge transfer activities, our Baking with Sound project was showcased by the Principal during his speech:

Showcasing the Baking with Sound project

Showcasing the Baking with Sound project

The Baking with Sound project is collaborative venture with 5 consortium members (Macphie of Glenbervie, Nortek Piezo Ltd, MONO Equipment, Fosters Bakery, and Heriot-Watt University). Its overall objective is to provide the Food Industry with an improved processing strategy to create more competitive ‘free-from’ products. It is a Technology Strategy Board funded project and it commenced in summer 2012.

The event was wonderfully organised by our 3 Communications musketeers Colin Thomson, Joe West and the incomparable Harry Loney. Great job, guys!