February 28, 2014, by Adrian Marinescu
Interview with ‘INNOVATE’ – A Multidisciplinary Scientist
Journalist: You’ve recently moved to Nottingham, more specifically The University of Nottingham’s Innovation Park on Jubilee Campus, how do you find it?
INNOVATE: You could say that this will be my new home for the next 3 years. It’s great so far, I have almost completely adapted to the climate and the UK way of life.
Journalist: Which part of the world do you come from exactly?
INNOVATE: It’s difficult to explain this “exactly”. A map may better answer your question. I come from 3 continents and 5 countries (Italy, France, Greece, Chile, India and Romania).
Journalist: Tell me more about yourself
INNOVATE: Well, I have been described by some as a thirteen headed creature. I wouldn’t use the term creature though, it sounds frightening and makes some think of the hydra; but, yes I do have thirteen heads. I was born about 5 months ago, but considering my life expectancy of 3 years, you could say I’m a teenager!
Journalist: So, you still have a lot to learn?
INNOVATE: Same as any human, I have to learn a lot about the world and also about myself. At this moment I would say that I am very close to having all thirteen heads talking the same language. It was a little difficult at the beginning but with some practice I am becoming better at it and my heads are learning to work as one.
Journalist: What sort of projects are you working on now?
INNOVATE: Right now I am working on two Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – a fixed wing and a rotary wing. The project aims to follow the rules of a competition being run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which is about to be launched this year. The main objective of the competition is to engage university teams in the design construction and demonstration of an autonomous unmanned aircraft system which could be used in humanitarian aid missions.
The scenario posed by the organisers is a natural disaster that has caused the isolation of several thousand people. Unmanned aerial vehicles will be deployed to deliver supplies to the isolated. The vehicles will follow predefined waypoints and use image recognition to identify the drop zones.
In order to simulate this scenario, the rules of the competition require the competitors to search, identify and locate letters or numbers on the ground and deliver a 1 kg pack of flour to a designated letter or numeral.
Journalist: That sounds ambitious and must require knowledge from many different fields?
INNOVATE: Indeed, but I have a strong background in fields such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and manufacturing, not to mention the access I have to all the necessary resources required to accomplish the final goal. If all goes well the project should be complete by mid-March. I hope you can come and see the demonstration.
Journalist: Thank you for the invitation, I’ll try not to miss it! What will follow after this project is finished?
INNOVATE: Well, each of my thirteen heads will go to work on a variety of challenges facing the modern aerospace industry, particularly through technologies in the fields of propulsion, airframes and control, ground operations, and navigation and communication. I would be more than willing to discuss these individual challenges in future interviews. In the end all of the technologies will be integrated into a virtual demonstrator. The virtual demonstrator will include a joint specification of requirements and propose a preliminary system design that will encompass all the novel technologies proposed.
Journalist: Thank you for the interview INNOVATE Team. Looking forward to hearing about your research. Good luck.
Disclaimer: there will be no mythical creatures involved in the project. The hydra is just a metaphor for our team coming together.