EW BrightSparks 2018 receive awards at the IET

The finalists of EW BrightSparks 2018 – a crop of the UK’s brightest young electronics engineers – have received their awards at a celebratory event at the prestigious venue of the IET, in Central London, in the Maxwell Library.

The thirty young engineers – all under the age of thirty – were highlighted and and their achievements celebrated.

The EW BrightSparks programme is run in partnership with RS Components, with support from Harting and the IET.

See also: Picture Gallery – EW BrightSparks 2018 awards presentation

UK electronics engineering

Clive Couldwell, group editor of Electronics Weekly, pictured right, said he was staggered by the ambition and expertise of the EW BrightSparks finalists.

Lindsley Ruth, CEO of RS Components and a judge on the EW BrightSparks selection panel, hailed the quality and enterprise of the class of 2018.

“We need a strong engineering sector in the UK,” said Ruth, right, citing a shortfall of 20,000 graduate engineers. “There’s a stereotype about engineering that it’s all coding and regulations. They need to see it as exciting.”

“How can we inspire UK engineers? We need to show it is about collaboration, creativity and problem solving, as much as maths and physics.”

Thank you to Jade Pullen, too, for an excellent talk about his career in engineering, including an example from the BBC’s The Big Life Fix.


The range of expertise demonstrated and the ambition already shown by the EW BrightSparks was truly inspiring.

We were looking for the young engineers who are 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. And we certainly found them.

For example, the class of 2018 includes young EW BrightSparks who have, as just a sample:

  • Used the smallest Holoscopic 3D camera adaptor to convert a single Raspberry Pi camera into a 3D camera
  • Led a project to re-imagine the peripherals for pioneering early British computer, EDSAC
  • Developed a novel optoelectronic medical device for measuring blood flow and oxygen saturation in tissue as the main focus of her PhD study
  • Been the Electrical Team Manager at Edinburgh University Formula Student, developing the on-board telemetry systems from the engine to the dashboard
  • Designed and engineered a robotic rig for a fraction of the cost of commercially available robotic arms
  • Achieved entrepreneurial successful with the UK manufactured StairSteady
  • Investigated recurrent neural networks and their efficient mapping onto Imagination’s neural network accelerator architecture
  • Led Plextek’s technical development of a mm-wave micro-radar system
  • Designed a hybrid drivetrain for a narrow-gauge hydrogen locomotive for the Institute of Mechanical Engineer’s Railway challenge
  • A member of the Edinburgh University Hyperloop team that reached the finals of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design competition
  • Won an MoD competition on the use of GNSS antennas, developing techniques to both miniaturise antenna size and improve performance
  • Developed a point-of-care (POC) biosensors based on micro fabricated silicon MEMS

And many, many more achievements. Please do stay tuned for a full profile of each BrightSpark, including a video interview with them from the event.

The EW BrightSparks class of 2018

Abdulrahman Albar

  • Now studying for a PhD, for his undergraduate final year project he worked with the smallest Holoscopic 3D camera adaptor to convert a single Raspberry Pi camera into a 3D camera, accommodating a lenticular lens.
  • He was awarded the IET Prize for the best student at Brunel University on an IET accredited course, and the Anson Fund Prize for Innovation in Design and Engineering related to Medical Applications.

Ruth Amos

  • She was Young Engineer for Britain 2006 for her idea The StairSteady, leading her to create her own company, and the StairSteady is still manufactured in the UK today.
  • Ruth is also a co-founder of Kids Invent Stuff, where young people are encouraged to submit their own ideas for inventions to solve novel and entertaining technical challenges.

Mary Bennett

  • Mary led a project to re-imagine the peripherals for pioneering early British computer, EDSAC, the second electronic digital stored-program computer to go into regular service, in 1949.
  • The open source project culminated in a two and a half day hands-on workshop entitled Chip Hack EDSAC Challenge, where participants learned the basics of FPGA programming

Melissa Berthelot

  • She is developing a novel optoelectronic medical device for measuring blood flow and oxygen saturation in tissue as the main focus of her PhD study
  • Melissa has also been engaged in the promotion of women in computer science and engineering for young girls in Imperial College London summer schools

Gregor Birrell

  • He is currently the Electrical Team Manager at Edinburgh University Formula Student, developing the on-board telemetry systems from the engine to the dashboard.
  • For the university’s Project InnSpace he is Electronics and IT Manager and has built computing and networking systems, including an RFID Computer Login system.

Aidan Bradfield

  • After a first class degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and a placement at ADI, he worked at Nvidia on embedded software development for multimode 2G/3G/LTE modems.
  • At Ultrahaptics, Aidan has made a significant contribution to the company’s two key haptic feedback products, the Touch development kit and Stratos platform.

Razvan Caramalau

  • Currently, he is investigating recurrent neural networks and their efficient mapping onto Imagination’s neural network accelerator architecture.
  • He has also researched and developed new modules to meet the hardware requirements for Imagination’s (high-end camera) Image Signal Processor and validated the functionality of the ISP pipeline blocks

Hamish Crackett

  • He managed to design and engineer a robotic rig capable of lifting over 1kg for under £300, a fraction of the cost of commercially available robotic arms.
  • He has already proved his creativity and innovation in a commercial context and demonstrated his knowledge of electronics, mechanics and software development.

Oishi Deb

  • Working on the company’s Electro-Magnetic Compatibility embedded software project, Oishi played a key role in developing the software, from theoretical design into a working system.
  • She has received an IET Achievement Award, and her company project went on to win a Project of the Year award at a Rolls Royce Award ceremony.

Marco Domingo

  • Studying for an MSc in Automotive Electronics, he is a member of the University of Brighton’s first formula student team
  • Team leader in the design of electronics for Ardingly College’s entry for the World Solar Challenge, which sees cars travel 3,000 km across Australia using solar power.

Edward Evans

  • Employed at his college as their Creative Arts Technician, he has developed a particular enthusiasm for DMX lighting systems, creating sound-to-light displays, with his latest using several thousand LEDs and fireworks.
  • Edward has specified and built many PCs for himself and for his father’s business. He has also specified and installed an IP-based 32 camera CCTV system and biometric door access.

Michael Gucluer

  • Selected for both the Big Bang: UK Young Engineers and Scientists Competition final and the Young Engineer for Britain competition, where he was awarded a distinction certificate and the “Engineering Excellence” award
  • He was invited to join the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (City of London Guild) as an apprentice for 4 years and awarded a Gold CREST award in his local region.

James Henderson

  • He led Plextek’s technical development of a mm-wave micro-radar system that is both cost-effective and suitable for manufacturing.
  • He co-authored an IEEE Sensors 2017 conference paper entitled “Low-Cost Millimetre-Wave Radio-Frequency Sensors – New Applications Enabled by Developments in Low Cost Chipsets”

Jamie Hill

  • His projects include the ‘Mega Modular MIDI Machine’, addressing what he sees as the lack of flexibility in today’s music production equipment.
  • It has potential application in controlling any MIDI-compatible software such as Photoshop, lighting rigs or even robotics.

Yi Chen Hock

  • Highly-motivated and already going beyond requirements in her study of electronics, she has been identified as a young BrightSpark. Her Electronics Tutor cites some of her recent Arduino-based work.
  • At a Celebration and Assessment day at Liverpool University, Yi Chen’s team won the prize for best performance for their waste water containment tanks control circuit.

Ivan Krastev

  • He has a deep understanding of power electronics systems and their application to electric vehicles, inventing circuits for signal conditioning, digital microcontrollers, and power devices.
  • In the University of Birmingham team, he designed a hybrid drivetrain for a narrow-gauge hydrogen locomotive for the Institute of Mechanical Engineer’s Railway challenge.

Herman Larsen

  • He has applied his programming knowledge to solve real customer EDA problems, facing the complexities of passing information across domains and tools, and processing it to be relayed back in relevant formats.
  • Supporting customers with complex EDA tools requires an investigative nature, but young engineers can struggle with challenging colleagues and customers. Herman has impressively succeeded for his company.

Robert Leadbeater

  • A specialist in repairing equipment for musicians around Bristol: building guitar pedals, summing mixers, guitar amps and compressors
  • He is committed to reviving kit and recycling as much as possible to help keep electronics from destroying our world via mass wastage

Robin Lee

  • He invented and developed a radio-based token instrument for the safe operation of passing loops on single track railways, having conceived the idea whilst volunteering for a heritage railway
  • On completion of the university project he joined Park Signalling, an SME active in the railway signalling area, with the company asking him to develop the concept into a working system.

Iestyn Llyr

  • Project manager on a £485K three-year collaborative project with Microsemi, Cardiff University and Airbus focused on energy harvesting and power conditioning for structural health monitoring.
  • He has designed a demonstrator for presence sensing that is now the basis for a business case for a relationship with a major OEM in the assistive-living market

Daniel Loud

  • The youngest engineer in his team, he has led the design in terms of external interfaces and taken part in many design reviews, representing the company in external client meetings.
  • In his spare time Daniel has created a maths resourcing website for primary school teachers, called Primary Maths Resources

Samuel Moss

  • In a year-long industrial placement at Arm he played a leading role in two major projects – IoT enabled flexible LED displays for shoes, and a robotic arm for a “pong” game demonstration – that were exhibited internationally.
  • Sam is also committed to his local STEM community through roles such as the liaison officer for the Electrical and Electronic Engineering society and volunteering at science communication events such as Pint of Science.

Orla Murphy

  • Working at Jaguar Land Rover, Orla is an active STEM ambassador and public speaker, giving lectures and talks about engineering to young people around the UK.
  • She was the IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year in 2015 and the RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year 2016.

Archie Roques

  • Director of Hardware for a ‘Fall Alarm’ project, a modern alarm system for detecting falls in vulnerable people and informing their relatives.
  • He has taught numerous workshops at different venues including the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Norwich Science Festival. He also co-founded the Young Makers’ Tech Club, an informal club for children to learn about technology.

Vladislav Rumiantsev

  • He was a member of the Edinburgh University Hyperloop team that reached the finals in the US during the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design competition.
  • He has introduced students and university staff members from various backgrounds to the foundations of programming and data acquisition using Hyperloop Pod as an example

Chaoyun Song

  • Winning an MoD competition on the military use of GNSS antennas, he developed cutting-edge techniques to both miniaturise antenna size and improve antenna performance.
  • His research on wireless power transfer and energy harvesting has been widely referenced by many other scientists and researchers (publishing 20 research papers and filing five international patents).

Daniel Toth

  • Leading the Power team, within the Edinburgh team, he competed in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in August 2017, and was involved in the research that followed afterwards, preparing for the 2018 competition.
  • He has since designed a 300kW+ power system, using 864 battery cells, and helped developed a brushless DC electric motor, starting from 3D printed stators and rotors that could provide up to 400W of power.

Josh Valman

  • He started designing robots when he was 10 years old and turned his passion for engineering into a very successful million pound business whilst just a teenager.
  • He has also shown through Robot Wars, and his Team Rapid, that he is keen to help other young engineers to develop and even hire promising young talent.

Nicole Weckman

  • Her PhD research has focused on the development of point-of-care (POC) biosensors based on micro fabricated silicon MEMS, ideally suited for bio sensing from a small fluid sample.
  • Currently she is developing a working, human-sized model of a Nano pore biosensor for the Cambridge Science Festival, and is also supporting events encouraging girls to consider careers in STEM subjects.

Rachel Rui Wong

  • Outside of working hours (specialising in tissue engineering), she is a maker that combines electronics with fashion and wearable technology
  • She exhibits her fashion tech pieces at Maker Faires, has crowdfunded to support her wearable tech workshops and was commissioned to produce an electronic jewellery piece for a fashion technology conference

Selection panel

The Selection Panel for the EW BrightSparks 2018 programme is full of industry expertise and knowledge.

The judges comprise (alphabetically): Adam Boulton (CTO, BlackBerry Business Technology Solutions), Clive Couldwell (group editor, Electronics Weekly), Graham Curren (CEO, Sondrel), Peter Hannon (Managing Director, HARTING UK), Paul Hide (techUK’s director of market engagement and membership), Isabella Mascarenhas(IET’s Young Professionals Engagement Manager), Jude Pullen (Technologist), Lindsley Ruth (CEO, RS Components) and Martin Woodhead, Executive Vice President, Ensigma, Imagination Technologies.

Graham Curren (CEO, Sondrel)Peter Hannon (Managing Director, Harting UK)Paul Hide (COO for techUK)Isabella Mascarenhas, IET's Young Professionals Engagement ManagerLindsley Ruth (CEO, RS Components)Martin Woodhead, Executive Vice President, Ensigma, Imagination TechnologiesAdam Boulton (Chief Technology Officer, Blackberry)Jude Pullen (Technologist)Clive Couldwell (group editor, Electronics Weekly)

Thank you to all who took the time to take part in the programme, especially those who nominated third-parties.

Full coverage of EW BrightSparks 2018 will appear in a special supplement in Electronics Weekly, published on 9 May.

Special thanks, too, to Saar Drimer, a talented designer who created the BrightSparks trophies for us. A distinctively unique ‘supra-component’ of the awards ceremony!

See also: The EW BrightSparks class of 2017 honoured at Houses of Parliament

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