The Robots vs Animals project will see engineers collaborate with zoologists to showcase how humans have learned from the ingenuity of nature. A team from Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Bristol Zoo will develop interactive events that explore nature-inspired robots, and give public audiences the chance to decide which is best: the creature or creation.
Robots vs Animals project leader Laura Fogg Rogers, a Research Fellow at the University of West of England's Science Communication in Bristol, says: "We are so excited to be working with Bristol Zoo on this creative project. Animals can beat us humans hands-down with their superhuman senses and abilities - just think of the grip strength of a gorilla or the sensitivity of a rat's whiskers. But in this project we also get to showcase human ingenuity - demonstrating the robots which combine skills that nature has evolved over millennia."
Two other Ingenious projects will celebrate outstanding engineering, both past and present. As we remember the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, the Women's Engineering Society will use school workshops to highlight the achievements of female engineers working in the aviation industry. Engineers will also be cheering on the start of this year's Tour de France in Leeds, as they delve into the engineering behind the event: from super-engineered bikes to bioengineering for broken bones.
Ingenious aims to give engineers an opportunity to engage with public audiences in all shapes and sizes. Projects funded by Ingenious this year will see engineers engaging with audiences at music festivals, helping students at coding clubs, and debating the ethics behind engineering issues such as creating cultured meat.
Professor Sarah Spurgeon FREng, Chair of the Ingenious funding panel and Professor of Control Engineering and Head of School, University of Kent, said: "Engineering underpins our society in many ways - whether it be the roads we drive on, the clean water we drink, or the smartphones we use to connect to our friends and family. Through Ingenious, we want to shine a light on the engineers who deliver these innovations, while also giving the public a chance to question and share their own views. Engineering is at the heart of our society and the value of encouraging our engineers to engage others with their work, and giving them the skills to do so, cannot be understated."
Ingenious is funded by the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation. A full list of projects funded by the scheme this year can be found at the following link:
Round 8: Ingenious grant awardees 2014 (224.41 KB)
Notes for editors
Ingenious is the Royal Academy of Engineering's public engagement grants scheme for creative public engagement with engineering projects. The scheme is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Royal Academy of Engineering. As the UK's national academy for engineering, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers for a shared purpose: to advance and promote excellence in engineering. We provide analysis and policy support to promote the UK's role as a great place to do business. We take a lead on engineering education and we invest in the UK's world-class research base to underpin innovation. We work to improve public awareness and understanding of engineering. We are a national academy with a global outlook. We have four strategic challenges: Drive faster and more balanced economic growth; foster better education and skills; lead the profession; promote engineering at the heart of society.
For more information please contact:
Manisha Lalloo at the Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel: 020 7766 0683
Email: Manisha Lalloo