Students from across WMG and the School of Engineering have been showcasing their work at the Our Future Moves exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum.
The exhibition is filled with contraptions, inventions, innovations and demonstrations showing the mechanisms and machinations of all things that move. The students have contributed several pieces to the exhibition that showcase their skills and imagination when it comes to futuristic transport.
There are satellites from WUSat, the student team who are building nanosatellites to explore space and improve communications on earth. The students are working on satellites that can orient themselves in space accurately enough to monitor wildlife populations on earth. Find out more here: OFM5: City Ecology // Our Environment — Culture Space Coventry
There are racing car components from Warwick Racing, the team that build a functioning electric race vehicle to compete in the Formula Student competition each year.
The third student project on display is the Warwick Sub Team’s human-powered submarine. The students are tasked with designed and building the submarine to compete against other universities. The competition is usually held every-other-year at the US Naval Base in Cardarock, Maryland in the US, but due to the Covid19 pandemic it was held virtually this year. The students have won many accolades throughout the years. This year the team received Honourable Mentions’ in the ‘Manoeuvring and Control Subsystem Design Challenge’ and the ‘Thrust Production Subsystem Design Challenge’ categories.
Sharing her experiences of the Warwick Sub team, Verena Oetzmann, Team Leader in 2016-2017, says: “In addition to all the challenges that we women in engineering face, being the female leader of an otherwise all male team was a demanding but very rewarding role. The lessons I have learnt throughout my time, coupled with the many skills procured along the way, have been invaluable as preparation for working life after university.
“Despite being the most difficult venture that I have undertaken at university, it is certainly among the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable experiences I have ever had.”
Professor Ian Tuersley, Project Director for Warwick Sub, adds: “It is clear that our students who are fortunate enough to be involved in the International Submarine Race (ISR) competitions enjoy the experience immensely and value the additional benefits that these unique opportunities provide them.
“However, from the point of view of an educator, in addition to the excellent experience there is tangible empirical evidence that the requirements of the competitions – including the necessary enforcement of real-world deadlines and constraints focuses their work and personal development on areas that more traditional University learning is not easily able to deliver. Skills such as team-working, project management, problem solving, budgetary awareness and leadership are essential if success is to be achieved in the competitions – and these are exactly the skills and behaviours that are most highly valued by potential employers.”
The students involved in all these projects learn how to apply their knowledge and gain experience of a real project, run in an industrial style. They make fantastic role models for young people, including Jack Moore (a former Sub Team member) whose profile is also part of the exhibition.
Our Future Moves runs until 31st October at the Coventry Transport Museum, or explore the online exhibition here: https://transport-museum.com/events/1491/our_future_moves
Congratulations to the Warwick Human Powered Submarine Team who received two awards and an overall commendation at the International Submarine Races (ISR16).
The competition is usually held every-other-year at the US Naval Base in Cardarock, Maryland in the US, but due to the Covid19 pandemic it was held virtually this year.
The Team was made up of seven final year engineering students, from the University of Warwick, including Gavin Ho; Phil Leiser; Jack Moore; James Grant; Alex Oortman; Karishma Patel and Vivek Suresh-Babu. The students had access to the engineering research and facilities within WMG’s engineering hall, and were supervised by WMG’s Professor Ian Tuersley and Senior Teaching Fellow Nigel Denton.
The Team competed against students from Universities across the globe and were delighted to receive ‘Honourable Mentions’ in the ‘Manoeuvring and Control Subsystem Design Challenge’ and the ‘Thrust Production Subsystem Design Challenge’ categories.
Professor Ian Tuersley said: “This is another great result from the Godiva Submarine student team. Once again they have brought back awards from the ISR, in competition against considerably more experienced international institutions. This consolidates the Warwick team as the UK champions in this hotly contended, high-profile event.”
Charlie Behrle, President of the competition organisers, the ‘Foundation for Underwater Research and Education’ (FURE) said: “With over 250 contestants representing 12 teams from three different countries participating, it was a busy and challenging event. Your team’s participation and performance were outstanding. We very much appreciate the effort your team put forth to participate in this event. Well done to Team Godiva!”
The Godiva Submarine is currently displayed, along with other University of Warwick student projects, at the Coventry Transport Museum as part of the ‘Our Future Moves’ exhibition.
Our Future Moves runs until 31st October 2021 - find out more here: Our Future Moves - Coventry Transport Museum (transport-museum.com)
WMG is proud to play a part in the Our Future Moves exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum.
The interactive exhibition tells the stories of the objects on display by envisioning how future cities may look and explores how pioneering developments in transport and technology could affect the environment and the way we live.
It features a range of exhibits that highlight the region’s pioneering work in transport innovation – from autonomous vehicles to one-person submarines.
As well as showcasing the Coventry Very Light Rail Project, engineers from WMG’s Automation Systems Group have also created a display using a UR5 collaborative robot, or cobot, to show and explain how automation plays an important part in battery assembly and manufacturing.
The cobot, which is the centrepiece of the display, was the brainchild of WMG Project Engineer Rohin Titmarsh. After working on AMPLIFII , a research project which delivered novel and leading designs for high power and high energy modules, along with the manufacturing methods to deliver them to medium volume production, Rohin started to investigate ways to bring the project to life for a younger audience. The team collaborated with Schunk, suppliers of gripping systems for industrial robots, who have generously loaned a gripper to the team for use in this exhibition, highlighting WMG’s strength in industry and breath of partners we work with.
Rohin explains: “This project is a shining example of the fantastic ability we have between our research and technical teams, to help bring projects to life. I am very appreciative of the support of Engineering Technician, Bethany Haynes, and thankful to Phil Jemmett and Margaret Low in the Outreach Team for the opportunity and assistance to develop this extension of the ‘Battery Builder’ activity.
“It is always important to explain why automation is crucial in producing the number of batteries we need for the future. The ‘Battery Builder’ activity does that for school students by introducing robots in manufacturing, why we use them and some basics about programming them. The gamification of this activity means we’re communicating the key points about our research in a fun and engaging way. Being able to have a real cobot running in the museum is a fabulous example of modern day engineering and in turn a great way to inspire the next generation of young engineers
“We look forward to working with Schunk and other partners in the future on more exciting and innovative uses for cobots.”
Our Future Moves runs until 31st October 2021 - find out more here: Our Future Moves - Coventry Transport Museum (transport-museum.com)
Many congratulations to WMG’s Professor Margaret Low as she receives an MBE for her services to public engagement and widening participation.
Margaret joined WMG back in 1988, and for many years she has made it her mission to inspire young people from all backgrounds in STEM subjects and into higher education.
She has dedicated her time to develop innovative outreach activities for young people - connecting the local community with academia and promoting STEM in an engaging way.
Professor Margaret Low said: “It’s lovely, if a little overwhelming and totally unexpected, to be recognised in this way. Everything I’ve achieved has been in collaboration with fantastic colleagues and friends at WMG and across the University. None of this would have been possible without their hard work and dedication.
“I’ve also had the good fortune to work with some brilliant students through Warwick Volunteers who’ve been instrumental in bringing outreach activities into schools.”
About Professor Low
Working with Warwick Volunteers, she collaborates with University of Warwick students to run Scratch workshops in local primary and secondary schools reaching more than 250 children each year through the Technology Volunteers project.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Margaret and her team also developed invaluable resources to help support home-schooling.
In 2016 Margaret was awarded an HEA National Teaching Fellowship. The Fellowships recognise and celebrate the absolute highest standards of learning and teaching across higher education.
More than a decade ago she pioneered the use of Scratch in the UK, a user-friendly programming tool, for outreach work in schools.
Join the WMG Outreach Team on Tuesday 1st June for a free science based workshop, inspired by Coventry’s textiles history, at The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
Stitch In Time is a collaborative project between WMG and local primary schools for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.
The educational workshop will introduce the children to fun science activities while building their maths and computing skills.
Director of Outreach and Widening Participation for WMG, Professor Margaret Low, explains: This project aims to give children an insight into how technology can be used creatively to design and make physical objects.”
The event is aimed at 9+ year olds . Book your child’s free place here: Stitch In Time - The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Students will have the opportunity to design and build an automotive product using engineering concepts and processes, before presenting their designs and ideas to their peers.
Ben Hunt explained: “This is another great event to be involved in which highlights the exciting range of careers in STEM. I hope we manage to capture the multi-disciplinary nature of electrification during the four-day course, it really is a one-stop-workshop!
“It has been great to work alongside some fantastic professionals in designing the event and I’m looking forward to listening to their lectures myself. The event content is derived from their real-world experience across various industries so I am confident students will be as informed as they could be, certainly more than I was in my final school years!”
Lauren Cooper added: One of my favourite parts of my job at WMG is inspiring the engineers of the future by designing and delivering events like the Fully Electric Challenge. I think it is important to give students a taste of how exciting a career in engineering can be, and demonstrate the importance of STEM in the future world. Through the Fully Electric challenge, we aim to show how broad the subject of electrification is including aspects of battery technology, economics and policy for sustainability in transport as well as wider society. STEM careers provide so many opportunities to learn and make impact in society through the development of technology for electrification. Having studied chemistry and started my career as a graduate at WMG, I have really enjoyed learning how underlying battery chemistries are developed manufactured and implemented utilising knowledge and skills from other areas of STEM.”
Each year 124,000 new engineers and technicians are needed to meet current and future demands. The Smallpeice Trust is an educational charity that inspires young people to pursue careers in science and engineering through events and workshops.
It takes place from 9-13th August (except on 12th August - GCSE results day) from 9.30am to 1.30pm. Once registered each student is sent instructions, a guide to the activities and a kit enabling them to build a battery powered vehicle.
To register your place visit: https://www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk/course-page/8cbb5b40-ae76-eb11-a812-0022481a98e1
Young engineers from a total of 15 local schools have been sent parcels with card templates of stars, stags, sleighs and baubles; a mini laser-cut Christmas tree and 3D printed cubes, octopuses and dinosaurs.
The year five and six children were also set some special STEM challenges including creating their own 3D Christmas decorations but without the use of glue.
WMG Outreach Project Officer, Phil Jemmett explained: “These boxes use the expertise of engineers at WMG to create exciting activities to engage children with ‘engineering’ - without a car in sight. We want to provide children with a chance to see creativity and engineering as two parts of the same approach to solving a problem.
“Inside the boxes are templates to build Christmas decorations out of paper – and once they have made a few they will notice the advantages of flat-packing the items we see in shops because they won’t all fit back in the box they came from!
“Last year, this resource box was the most fun activity we worked on. It has been a bit different this year and without the help of our fantastic technicians Beth Haynes; Joe Benjamin and Ehman Altaf, it would not have been possible to laser cut or 3D print any items to go in these boxes.”
WMG Director of Outreach and Widening Participation , Professor Margaret Low added: “I’m delighted that WMG is again able to share the engineering activity boxes with local primary schools. It’s important that we work in partnership with teaching colleagues at all stages of education, to raise awareness of engineering and how it contributes to our society.”
Find out more about WMG’s Outreach programme here.
*In total 25 boxes were sent out. Local schools involved were:
· St Giles Junior School, Bedworth
· Charter Primary School, Coventry
· St Joseph, Kings Norton, Birmingham
· St Columba, Rednal, Birmingham
· St James, Rednal, Birmingham
· St Thomas More, Sheldon, Birmingham
· St Brigid, Northfield, Birmingham
· St Paul, Birmingham
· Arley Primary School, Nuneaton
· Burton Green Primary School, Coventry
· Balsall Common Primary School, Balsall Common
· Burbage Junior School
· Dorridge Primary School, Solihull
· Shottery St Andrews Primary School
· Clifford Bridge Academy, Coventry
WMG’s Outreach Team, with support from the WMG centre HVM Catapult staff, have been helping children with fun and creative STEM activities to help with home schooling.
With schools currently closed, the Team have been working hard to create educational resources highlighting the value of engineering for children of all ages.
WMG Outreach Project Officer, Dr Phil Jemmett, has also taken part in the last two Global Science Shows, an initiative that brings together science activities and experiments from all over the world, live on Twitter.
In the first show, Phil demonstrated three separate science experiments, exploring density and floating, using 3D printed parts in just two minutes. In the second show Phil showcased the classic bottle rocket launch! However this time, instead of using a cork to hold back the pressure, the launcher used a rupture disk which acts as an important safety feature on some industrial equipment.
“Coventry and the wider Midlands has a proud engineering history – take Sir Frank Whittle as an example. Hearsall Common features a plaque paying homage to a moment in history when Frank, as a child, saw a plane land on that field. He went on to pioneer the jet engine, receive a knighthood, give lectures at NASA and be voted amongst the top 100 Britons of all time. Quite the list of achievements! But each great journey starts with one small step, and the motivation to take that step,” explains Phil.
He adds: “At WMG, we take part in inspiring and amazing work that deserves to be shared and spread to young people in the area. The power of our research to inspire and motivate the next generation of children, by giving them an experience just like Sir Frank’s watching the plane land at Hearsall Common, is immense. While the demonstrations in the Global Science Show videos are only small we are not aiming to invent the next jet engine with each one – we are hoping to provide the spark that kindles a burning passion in a young person to succeed in engineering.”
Home schooling support
WMG’s Outreach team has completed another successful series of Royal Institution Masterclasses for school children across Coventry.
The classes aim to open the eyes of young people to the excitement of engineering, and in turn, inspire the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
Local schools were invited to nominate two year nine students to take part, with a total of 24 students participating in the sessions overall.
The Masterclasses were held on Saturday mornings in the form of interactive workshop sessions focusing on a different aspect of engineering. The Series was delivered by staff and students from WMG, with several of this year’s classes led by researchers working on key WMG HVM Catapult projects.
Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation at WMG explained: “Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the final masterclass focusing on software and control could not be held as an interactive session on campus.
“Instead myself and Helen Luckhurst, Project Officer at WMG HVM Catapult, held the final session virtually across two evenings.”
Professor Low added: “The virtual classes were a complete first for the Outreach team, a strange but still successful end to the Masterclasses. We presented a series of video tutorials and the students then used their programming and pattern skills to create an embroidered pattern design for a coaster. There were some really great designs.”
Find out more about the 2020 RI Masterclasses here.
The outreach team from WMG, University of Warwick, want to encourage children and their parents and carers to use this time to explore some of the fun, creative STEM learning opportunities which are available online. With support from WMG centre HVM Catapult, the outreach team at WMG has produced a number of online activities for children of all ages to get involved and learn something new.
Professor Margaret Low, Director of Outreach and Widening Participation for WMG, explains:
"With schools closing it’s a real opportunity to engage parents and carers with online teaching resources, to ensure children are getting an education at home during these uncertain times.”
“We hope these resources, which are suitable for young people of all ages, will inspire children to take up careers in STEM. Many children may think of engineering as physically making things, but don't realise the maths or computer design skills required, which could open up a great career for them in the future.”
The first resource suggested by WMG outreach team is Turtlestitch, which is great for children in school years 5 to 9. Turtlestitch is a free website on which users can write a program to control a digital embroidery machine. It is used by WMG for outreach activities, as a means of raising awareness of the breadth of engineering. Young people really enjoy using Turtlestitch for pattern design, with or without access to a digital embroidery machine, which makes it ideal for learning at home while schools are closed.
Helen Luckhurst, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick comments: “Turtlestitch is great for children learning at home because it gives them a fun context for applying maths skills. It is interactive and engaging as children discover the patterns they can make using maths.”
“We have created a number of resource cards and video tutorials to support its use, so I hope that parents and carers will encourage their children to use this as a different way of learning.”
Find WMG video tutorials, how-to cards and maths tasks to guide users through Turtlestitch here. Explore the learning materials on basic programming skills, year 5 and 6 maths, craft projects and further mathematical investigations.
Another fun activity for both primary and secondary school children is Tinkercad, a colourful, easy to use computer-aided design software, which is free to use in the web browser and suitable for children from around 8 years of age. Teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers use it to imagine, design, and make anything. It is used by WMG outreach as part of the Warwick Bright Stars programme in primary schools. Parents can find video tutorials and ideas for several projects here, including keyrings, money pots and lolly drip trays.
Diane Burton, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick explains: "These Tinkercad projects engage children in the design process, and get them using measurements and maths as an essential part of their design work.”
Autodesk Fusion 360 is a powerful, professional CAD package. It is used in secondary schools and is suitable for ages 14+, and a free download is available to students, educators and enthusiasts. WMG video and written tutorials are available here, where you will find projects including design of assistive technology.
Parents may also want to do some experiments at home with their children, which are fun and educational for any age.
WMG staff have made videos available of demonstrating experiments to do at home, using household items and toys you might already have. It is advisable that children are supervised during these experiments.
Watch Graduate Trainee Engineers Lauren, Jacob, Josh and Lucas demonstrating STEM experiments, and follow a guide to building a pulley from a toy construction set. There are many more experiments to come, telling the engineering story behind household objects.
Dr Phil Jemmett, a Project Officer at WMG, University of Warwick comments: “Every product in your house has been made by engineers and shaped by scientists. We want to tell the story behind those items and show you experiments that you can do with everyday stuff. Now that we are all staying in our homes, we just have to find a way to do STEM with what we’ve got!”
Parental supervision is advised when accessing external websites.