Interview with Dr Lucy Rogers, Engineering Consultant and Judge on BBC’s Robot Wars
RS Components has teamed up with Electronics Weekly to launch a new programme, to identify and promote the brightest and most talented young electronic engineers in the UK today.
EW BrightSparks aims to uncover those already making a difference in the first years of their working life, or who are still studying but are showing the promise to become the people behind big future innovations in electronics.
The very first cohort of EW BrightSparks will be revealed in Electronics Weekly next year; with the programme becoming an annual fixture celebrating and highlighting the achievements of the sector’s new generation.
We caught up with Dr Lucy Rogers, an engineering consultant and judge on BBC's Robot Wars to discuss why she will also be joining the panel of judges for EW Brightsparks.
Q: So Lucy, tell us a bit about you…
LR: I translate scientific stuff into plain English. I use this slightly devious method to infiltrate the public’s consciousness and make science fun for everyone! I’m a Mechanical Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Royal Astronomical Society, and the British Interplanetary Society. I also have a Ph.D. in bubbles (fluid dynamics). However, the job I love most is as a Maker – I make things that help solve problems – or that are just for fun.
I’m the Managing Director of Makertorium Limited – we run workshops on disruptive technologies and the Internet of Things, as well as consulting on engineering matters. Using Raspberry Pi we’ve hacked full-sized Animatronic Dinosaurs that interact with humans at Blackgang Chine, a theme park on the Isle of Wight. I’m also a judge on the BBC Robot Wars television series.
Q: Why is it important to get young people into engineering?
LR: It is difficult to find anyone who does not use an electronic gadget or gizmo daily – from a television to a mobile phone, a baby monitor to an alarm clock. However, I feel the electronics is often hidden behind glossy exteriors and put into the realm of “magic”. Electronic design impacts everyone and is one way in which young people can have a really positive effect on the world. I look forward to seeing some of the new ideas and projects that this programme will help to highlight – and to see some faces behind the “they” that design the things we use.
Q: Why do you think we are faced with such a skills shortage in the UK?
LR: Scientists and mathematicians are not portrayed as working in the “real” world (apart from in the medical professions). Engineers are only thought of as someone who fixes a washing machine, car or telephone. Engineering is about problem solving. And with a little luck and determination, you can choose the type of problem you work on. If we let out this little secret, I think more people would want to get involved.
Q: What is the future for electronic design engineering?
LR: The people who are creative, and can combine hardware (the physical bits of electronics) with the software (the coding), are in for an amazing future. People will want the next “thing” you designed, be it something you wear, listen to, hang on your wall or drive. Or you could help solve the world’s big problems – water shortages, deforestation, safety, etc.
To find out more about EW BrightSparks, or to nominate a young engineer, please Click Here.