It is the 35th end of year show for students on Imperial College’s course for Innovation, Design and Engineering. These are the projects which might launch careers. This is science for the real world, science which might change our lives.
For example there’s Morten Gronning from Denmark and his Happaratus, or “power glove”. It incorporates mechanised finger tips which could revolutionise the world of sculpture by allowing hand sculpting of wood and stone for the first time.
It gives artists and craftsmen a totally new relationship with new materials. Since developing his idea, Morten has also had interest from bone surgeons and dentists who see an application for this technology in their fields of expertise.
There is a brand new way of harvesting wind power called Moya. It uses tiny transparent strips of material to catch the breeze. Imagine thousands of them stuck to a sky scraper or lining an underground train tunnel.
Dopa is a vibrating pen designed to help sufferers of Parkinson’s disease whose hands stiffen as the disease takes hold. When you tilt the pen to write it engages the vibrational motors helping people’s writing become clearer and smoother. It also relaxes muscles as the pen travels across the page.
The innovations on display here are a combination of art and science – this stuff has to work and it has to look good at the same time. The students are taught to understand the commercial application of what they come up with because these innovations will drive the successful economies of the future.
The work here is about changing lives and the impact we have on the world around us. Much of it has at least half an eye on the environment.
So, there’s Bio Knit which utilises different densities of the same plastic to produce materials of different strength and flexibility.
On display a concept training shoe, all made from one material. One huge advantage is that it makes recycling so much easier.
It is a perfect combination of a breakthrough that has huge commercial potential as well as environmental sustainability.