For over 50 years the MacRobert Award has been recognising world-leading engineering innovations developed in the UK. Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust in 1969, the award has since become the UK’s longest-running and most coveted prize for UK engineering ingenuity. The annual award is now run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and honours engineering achievements that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. The list of past winners of the award serves as an impressive reminder of the wide-ranging capabilities of British engineers.
Insights: Technical Insights
In a concerted effort to tackle climate change, countries around the world have proposed to ban conventional petrol and diesel cars within the next few decades, paving the way for an electric vehicle revolution. In our previous blog, The Future Of Automotive Powertrains, we found that in the realm of patents, car manufacturers favour batteries (and lots of them) to power their electric vehicles. In this blog we look at the capabilities and shortcomings of batteries and how fuel cell technology may yet play a part in powering our transport networks.
Innovations in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are typically implemented in software and so can be challenging to patent at the European Patent Office. Firstly, patent protection for the invention must not be ruled out by the “software as such” exclusion of Article 52 EPC, and the invention must therefore solve a notional “technical problem”. Secondly, it must be possible to reduce an often complicated inventive concept to a single paragraph of text that can act as a patent claim. By way of illustration, this article looks at the patented smart home technology behind Nest Lab’s (“Nest”) learning thermostat, and explores how innovative start-ups can effectively protect their inventions.
One of the major problems that faces the emerging electric vehicle (EV) market is the range of electric vehicles. While, due to improvements in battery technology and car design and efficiency, some electric cars now have ranges well over 300 miles, a more comparable level with the range of their internal combustion (IC) cousins, they often come at the cost of, well, a much higher cost than petrol or diesel cars. However, advances recently published in the journal Nature are mapping the route towards a potential solution.
At 1522 EDT on 30 May 2020, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in their Dragon capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral and into low Earth orbit, propelled by the mighty Falcon-9 rocket. This was the first time a private company had sent astronauts to the International Space Station, and the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 that anyone had travelled into space from US soil.
For most people, the term “flying taxi” may conjure up images of Milla Jovovich crashing into Bruce Willis’s taxi in “The Fifth Element” in the year 2263 rather than feats of present-day engineering. However, a slew of long-established industrial giants, like Toyota, Boeing, and Airbus, newer tech giants, like Uber, Google, or Amazon, and disruptive start-ups of which there are too many to list, are doing their best to bring flying taxis from 23rd century science-fiction to present day reality.
rocery delivery service Ocado was forced to temporarily suspend parts of its online service last month due to coronavirus (Covid-19). The panic buying induced by the virus resulted in a tenfold increase demand. However, even before this unprecedented surge Ocado has been steadily growing over recent years. A quick Google search shows the impressive growth of Ocado’s share price since its initial public offering. Investment in technology and intellectual property (IP) have played a major role in this growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a worldwide shortage of ventilators, and in the UK, the NHS is soon expected to require significantly more ventilators than are currently in circulation. As a result, on Monday 16th March, the UK government called for businesses to help make ventilators and ventilator components in an attempt to dramatically increase the number of ventilators available to the NHS in a matter of weeks. In response, both existing manufacturers of ventilators are increasing production and other manufacturing businesses are joining the effort.