The Next Big Thing in Engineering?

  • Published June 2017

In the UK right now everyone interested in great engineering is looking at the finalists of the prestigious MacRobert Award, presented each year by the Royal Academy of Engineering to the UK’s most exciting engineering innovations. This Award is renowned for spotting the “next big thing in engineering”. This year’s finalists are Darktrace, Raspberry Pi and Vision RT, all three already global players.

Darktrace is recognised for their self-learning cyber defense. This Enterprise Immune System technology works in a similar way to the human immune system. With the help of AI algorithms and unsupervised machine learning the system learns what is normal within a network. It uses this understanding to then identify anomalies, reacts on emerging threats such as ransomware, data theft or prohibited access and has been shown to work very efficiently.

Raspberry Pi Foundation has redefined home computing with their easy-to-use and inexpensive mini-computers. Raspberry Pi has been developed to encourage young people to learn computer coding and programming. It can now be found outside the target market as a fully functional computer; though small in size and very low in price, Raspberry Pi is also being used in areas like robotics, electronics R&D and scientific research.

The third finalist, VisionRT, developed a surface guided radiation therapy technology. A 3D stereo camera system tracks continuously and in real-time the skin surface of a patient lying on a treatment table and compares it to the ideal position with an accuracy of less than 1mm. If the movement of the patient exceeds a certain value, the system signals the treatment delivery system to pause radiation. Pinpoint accuracy in radiotherapy improves treatment efficiency, as well as patient comfort and safety.

The winner will be announced on 29 June 2017 at the Academy Awards Dinner in London in front of an audience of top engineers, business leaders, politicians and journalists.

Update: The winner of the MacRobert Award 2017 is Raspberry Pi with their highly innovative, easy to use, credit card-sized computers. The worthy winner finds several fans among the Active Silicon team, as a few of our engineers use the Raspberry Pi privately and even for certain test set-ups at work.