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Re-imagining the future – Engineers to demonstrate new innovations at IF Oxford

Hands-on demos and activities at IF Oxford, the Oxford science and ideas Festival, will showcase cutting edge engineering research helping to shape the future

Betty The Robot at Hampton Court Palace

Betty the Robot at Blenheim Palace earlier this year

Researchers from the Department of Engineering Science will be showcasing their work and helping to get people excited about the future of engineering during IF Oxford, the Oxford science and ideas Festival.

Running a series of hands-on demos and activities covering robotics, healthcare, electronics and space travel, they are aiming to demonstrate to the Oxford public how modern engineering is applied to a range of real-life situations.

In the Westgate Wonderlab on Saturday 19 October, our engineers will be running demonstrations themed around ‘Designing the future- engineers reimagining the world’, with hands-on activities based around their latest research - from the future of robotics, wireless power toys and origami structures, to smartphone apps that aid recovery from strokes.

The department's Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) will be represented not just by human researchers but also by Betty the Robot, who was originally designed to carry out service roles in offices and care homes. She now performs more of an ambassadorial role for the ORI at venues like Blenheim Palace and Pembroke College, meeting visitors from all over the world. (You can follow her on Twitter @BettyStrands).

Emily Kwong and Leo De Almedia E Bueno from the department's Institute of Biomedical Engineering will help IF visitors to build a working circuit with lights and switches using conductive ink and paperclips.

Our researchers will also be showcasing next-gen spacecraft heat shields at Blackbird Leys Community Centre on Monday 28 October, during half-term week, in the BLAST! Zone (Blackbird Leys Astronomy, Science and Technology). They’ll be exploring how spacecraft can safely travel into space, on to other planets and back home, while travelling at high speeds through different atmospheres. Researchers in our Virtual Reality Lab will show how they are contributing to these efforts by building and testing engines using wind tunnels, liquid crystals and an infra-red laboratory.

Victoria Green, who is organising the department’s public engagement activities as part of IF Oxford, says “We are very excited about this opportunity to demonstrate to people that engineering is not just about building bridges and engines, and that the work we do has a massive impact on society and day to day life. By having a variety of hands-on demonstrations from lots of our research areas, we plan to bring to life the work we do in a way that showcases what modern engineering science is all about.” She adds, “hopefully visitors will walk away with a better understanding of what we do and possibly inspired to become one of the next generation of engineers”.


About IF Oxford

IF Oxford returns this October as the science and ideas festival that takes over dozens of venues in Oxford 18-28 October 2019, with activities for adults, children and teenagers. Festivalgoers can pick from over a hundred events to explore big ideas and ask even bigger questions about science, humanity, the world at large and beyond. Experiment with immersive art experiences, get hands-on in free activity zones and meet some of the most creative innovators at this festival for people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. 

No booking is required – just turn up! Come alone, come with friends or come with your family and meet some brilliant ideas.

Full details here. Pick up a free programme from Waterstones, Oxford Town Hall, the Oxford Museum of Natural History, Oxford Brookes or Westgate Oxford.