Seven Future-Shaping Technologies

We need to think about the future-shaping technologies in Ashtabula County. Here are some to noodle.

The U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering has named the seven most future-shaping technologies of the year. The engineering projects awarded are those that “have the potential to bring radical innovation to their fields,” according to an Academy announcement. The awards are part of the Academy’s Engineering for Growth campaign.

The research fellows and projects honored are:

1. Software inspired by the human ear, Emmanouil Benetos, Queen Mary University of London. Audio analysis, or machine listening, is the process of extracting specific sounds for analysis in such work as surveillance, crime detection, and music indexing. Benetos’s work aims to develop algorithms that mimic what the human ear does naturally to discriminate between useful sounds and noise.

2. Better materials for safer reactors, Ben Britton, Imperial College London. The long-term goal of a low-carbon energy future means continued reliance on nuclear power for the foreseeable future. Britton’s work will focus on predicting and improving the performance of alloys used to build reactor cladding, tubing, and heat exchangers.

3. Novel carbon-fiber composites for large-scale and sustainable applications, Soraia Pimenta, Imperial College London. Pimenta’s work with composite materials reinforced with carbon, recycled, or natural fibers aims to lower both manufacturing costs and environmental impact in automotive manufacturing and aerospace construction. (NOTE: THIS IS AN AREA ASHTABULA COUNTY PLASTICS COMPANIES COULD HAVE AN IMPACT!)

4. Next-generation prosthetic limbs, Alex Dickinson, University of Southampton. Dickinson’s work with lower-limb amputees aims to predict how residual tissues change with different activities, which affects comfort and mobility with prostheses.

5. Turning data transmission around, Martin PJ Lavery, University of Glasgow. The advent of optical fibers accelerated the communications revolution, but they are approaching the limits of their capacity. Lavery’s work will involve using special properties of light to develop high-capacity, secure communication networks.

6. Visualizing blood flow in the brain, Thomas Okell, University of Oxford. Angiography shows the blood flow in arteries, and perfusion shows the blood in brain tissue; both visualizations enable doctors to make accurate diagnoses noninvasively, but the tests are time-consuming and require separate scans. Okell’s work aims to develop ways that these measurements can be performed and recorded simultaneously.

7. A language for computers of the future, Antoniu Pop, University of Manchester. Computer processing demands have left single-core systems in the dust, but current programming languages cannot exploit the parallelism required in multi-core processing. Pop’s work aims to create a new programming language to overcome this problem, as well as to investigate new computation models.

“Each of the seven research projects addresses unresolved or critical issues in a specific engineering field and has the potential to lead to significant breakthroughs, benefiting both the research community and industry,” according to the Academy announcement.

Source: Royal Academy of Engineering, www.raeng.org.uk.

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