The IET has highlighted a selection of inspirational winners and finalists from its Present Around the World and Global Challenge competitions who have been recognised for developing five ground-breaking inventions for the future.
As an organisation whose purpose is to inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians, Start Your Story has been launched to celebrate that, with the right platform and a helping hand, every engineer and innovator can be catapulted to success.
hipsterIce: a revolutionary product for aid organisations operating abroad
University of Cambridge engineering students Joshua de Gromoboy, Gwilym Rowbotton and Siddharth Gupta created their product hipsterIce as part of the IET's 2015 Global Challenge competition.
hipsterIce is an inexpensive, non-powered cooler that gives laptops five hours of efficient use every day, increasing performance and lifespan. This was recognised as a revolutionary product for humanitarian aid workers operating in hot countries, addressing the issue of heat negatively impacting the performance of laptops.
Robert Mayall a PhD student at the University of Calgary won the 2015/2016 IET's Present Around the World competition for his innovative biosensor technology that can detect infectious agents rapidly, both in the air and in the human body, something which usually takes more than three days.
Robert explains, "The detection sensor is as sensitive as the body's immune system, so if a person was suffering with an illness such as the Zika Virus, the sensor will detect and respond to it within just five minutes, relieving the usual three day wait. Since winning the competition I've presented my work to the Canadian military and set up a company, FREDsense for another of my sensory innovations."
Nura headphones: the word's first headphones to learn and adapt to our unique hearing
Co-founder of Nura Kyle Slater has a passion for music, sound, electronics and the brain. After winning the IET's Present Around the World competition in 2010 for his revolutionary new headphones, his invention became the most funded Australian Kickstarter campaign ever this summer.
The "light bulb" moment for the Nura headphones came to Kyle on a research visit to the University of California. One of his colleagues was using an expensive pair of headphones that she loved (and he didn't). This triggered a thought experiment: How do you make the perfect headphones? Since we all hear differently Kyle realised that no one pair of headphones could be perfect. So, Kyle invented the Nura headphones – the world's first personalised headphones.
Kyle explains: "Nura headphones work by detecting the otoacoustic emission – a sound that your ear produces in response to sound you listened to. When you first use the headphones you download an app which runs you through a 30 seconds calibration to automatically detect your hearing profile".
Navi Stick – an innovative product to aid visually impaired people
Nourah Al-Saad, an industrial engineering student at the American University of the Middle East and Africa, made it to the final of the IET's 2015 Present Around the World competition with the Navi Stick – a game-changing navigation aid for the visually impaired, which she hopes will eventually improve the lives of blind people around the world.
Nourah explains: "The Navi Stick uses a GPS system and an Indoor Positioning System (IPS) to allow greater mobility in unknown indoor and outdoor areas. The most impressive element is the image recognition feature - a recently developed technological innovation that allows Geographic Information System maps (GISM) to work alongside existing smart phone systems. This happens through an algorithm that employs the relative positioning of longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates so that the user can navigate more accurately than ever."
Smart Windows – the solar powered solution for the homes of the future
Co-workers and engineering students Muhammad Ali Babar Abbasi, Saleem Shahid and Rafay Iqbal Ansari worked together to help Muhammad make the Global final of the IET's Present Around the World Competition this year for developing a solar powered solution for the homes of the future.
Smart Windows provides a thin sheet of solar panels which can be fixed to an existing window to harness solar energy and also be used as an antenna to transmit Wi-Fi.
The team explained: "The cities of the future will need infrastructure that is sustainable, energy efficient and spatially-unobtrusive and this is an innovation that solves a lot of urban problems."
The IET supports young engineering and technology entrepreneurs through two competitions –The Global Challenge and Present Around The World - both with the aim to develop their skills in presenting ideas and solving global problems. It also runs a Young Professionals Community that brings together young engineers and technology experts from around the world to connect and share ideas.
Read about how young engineering and tech entrepreneurs have taken their first steps to success at www.theiet.org/start.