We are very pleased to announce the winners of our October Thinking Ahead programme, during which we invited students from all over the world to take part in an online design challenge.
Participants were tasked with designing a prototype of a community structure to be based in Canada Water, attracting visitors and enhancing the local area. The structure had to meet the needs of a specific user group and incorporate light and colour as its primary aesthetic. As well as engineering a solution to satisfy the immediate criteria, the students were also required to consider other contextual factors, including sustainability and city planning. By setting the participants a real-life task whilst also considering the broader context, they were able to experience some of the ways in which TEDI-London students develop skills through project-based learning.
Throughout the two-week programme, the 112 participating students were invited to attend a variety of supporting virtual talks, delivered by both TEDI-London staff and industry leaders within the engineering sector, including Jordan Osborn (The IET) and Alex Knight (STEMAZING). These offered advice and inspirational stories, as well as the opportunity for the students to ask questions and discuss current issues and how engineering can help to solve them. They were also given access to online learning materials which they could work through at their own pace, alongside opportunities to receive support from both TEDI-London staff and external industry partners. Again, this gave them an insight into how, as a student at TEDI-London, they would study and collaborate with those already working on projects within the sector.
TEDI-London was supported by some of its industry partners to complete the judging process, during which the ten shortlisted project submissions were viewed by Aman Gill (ARUP), Krishnapriya CR (ARM), Eugene Conroy (ETA projects) and Eleanor Quinn (TEDI-London) and assessed in line with the brief. We are thrilled to announce our four Thinking Ahead winners across the three categories: the BEST ENGINEERED SOLUTION, the MOST SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION and the MOST CREATIVE SOLUTION. Each of the winners will receive a TEDI-London letter of recommendation as well as a coaching session with an industry professional.
Jointly winning the prize for the BEST ENGINEERED SOLUTION, Team Sofia^4 designed a ‘Tri-Dome’ containing numerous interactive games as well as relaxation areas. The team carefully considered the best materials to use as well as the size, shape and layout of the structure, to ensure that it would be robust, energy efficient and take up minimal space. Designed for those with colour-vision deficiency and ADHD, Team Sofia^4 also incorporated psychology into the structure’s colour schemes and proposed games that would be particularly engaging for the user group, as well as successful at raising awareness of this user group to other visitors.
“We found it very rewarding to participate in TEDI-London’s Thinking Ahead programme, particularly having the opportunity to meet and receive advice from professionals within the field of engineering. We really enjoyed learning about how diverse and broad the sector is, and how different areas of the field can support and feed into others. As we are all interested in engineering for different reasons, including enjoying maths and physics, being creative and solving problems, it was a great opportunity to work together as a team and leverage each of our skills to come up with a solution.”
Also being awarded the BEST ENGINEERED SOLUTION title, Faith’s project design was a Community Centre comprising numerous features to support individuals with ADHD. Faith came up with multiple design ideas for the structure before deciding upon a final proposal which featured large windows tinted with colours to evoke positive emotions, solar panels and sustainable building materials. She also paid close attention to the layout of the structure, making it as simple as possible to avoid over-stimulation for her user group, as well as including areas that would be most beneficial, for instance a healthy eating café, a sensory room and private break-out areas.
“I am interested in a career in engineering because I want to use innovation to solve complex problems and make people’s lives simpler, safer and more productive. When taking part in TEDI-London’s Thinking Ahead programme, I enjoyed the chance to apply my skills to a project that would have a meaningful impact within society, and to develop my communication skills whilst interacting with the session speakers and judging panel.”
Winner of the MOST SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION, Shedlia, designed a ‘Windchime Tree’ using recycled cans and glass bottles and solar-powered lights. To be situated in Southwark Park, her design also featured benches made from reclaimed wooden planks and flowerbeds with different plants, enabling members of her user group, people with anxiety, to sit under the tree and enjoy the relaxing sounds and smells. Shedlia paid very close attention to detail with her project design, not only using colour theory to determine that using blue glass for the windchimes would help visitors feel more relaxed, but also choosing the precise tree to place at the centre of her work.
“To me, the Thinking Ahead programme felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I very much enjoyed hearing from experts in the field, and developing my confidence by presenting my work to the panel and receiving their feedback was very useful. I’m interested in engineering because I would like to contribute new ideas and a fresh perspective to a sector that has traditionally been dominated by people that aren’t like me. I was surprised to learn how important budgeting and risk management skills are when undertaking a design project and am very grateful to have built upon my knowledge through taking part in TEDI-London’s programme.”
Isabel’s project, an artistically created ‘Glass Forest’ won the title of the MOST CREATIVE SOLUTION. As her user group was individuals with autism, Isabel carried out extensive research by talking to young people within that group, as well as their families, to determine some of the main challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and how to best leverage the design project opportunity to help combat them. Isabel used only recycled glass and metal to ensure that her structure was sustainable and researched colour theory to develop a unique and aesthetically pleasing design.
“My favourite aspects of TEDI-London’s Thinking Ahead programme were the inspiring talks I was able to attend and the opportunity to be creative. I also found it very useful to use the online learning tree for my research, as it taught me about new aspects of engineering and further sparked my interest to pursue a career in the sector. Developing my project opened my eyes to some of the challenges that other people have to overcome in their day to day lives and I hope to be able to make life a little easier and more enjoyable in the future.”