Imperial College London

Could hungry fish teach us how to declutter the oceans? (And other College news)

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Here’s a batch of fresh news and announcements from across Imperial.

From fish-inspired methods for cleaning up ocean plastic pollution, to a powerful talk on the world’s biggest killer, here is some quick-read news from across the College.

Fishy solution to ocean plastic

Baby Whale Shark with Remora at Koh Tao ThailandRemora, which was co-founded by Imperial students Robert Rouse and Inty Grønneberg, has developed an innovative solution to ocean plastic waste inspired by hungry fish.

Almost eight-million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans each year. This breaks down into tiny fragments called microplastics, which are swallowed by marine life, contaminating the entire food chain.

Remora creates innovative marine turbines and ship thrusters that suck in these microplastics from the ocean as the tide flows and ships move around. The systems would integrate seamlessly into existing infrastructure, providing a low cost solution.

The team were inspired by the remora fish, which latches on to other species and feeds off their scraps and waste

Back to the future

People at the Centre for Smart Connected Futures launch eventImperial has officially launched its Centre for Smart Connected Futures. The Centre brings together engineers and computer scientists to help develop smart cities and environments, smart grids, smart mobility and transport, as well as next generation automated vehicles.

The Centre, led by Professor Julie McCann of the Department of Computing, also works with industrial partners and designers to ensure ease the public into a future where the Internet of Things will be widespread.

Its three main research themes are connecting people with their environment, designing future connected systems, and trusted control machines.

Taking off

And Airbus plane wing in the skyImperial engineering professor Lorenzo Iannucci has been appointed as Airbus Chair in Advanced Composite Design to support development of the next generation of aircraft wings.

Airbus continues its relationship with the College by funding a chair to benefit from academic excellence in aeronautical testing, modelling and analysis. Professor Iannucci will develop a new research group focusing on virtual testing techniques and seek collaborative research opportunities to support Airbus’ Wing of Tomorrow programme.

Professor Iannucci said: “AIRBUS funding the chair demonstrates the depth of composite research within the Department of Aeronautics. In the coming years, advanced virtual testing techniques will be commonplace in the design of all aeronautical composite structures, but is also applicable to many other engineering fields, such as automotive design.”

Smart money

Dr Andrei KirilenkoResearchers from across faculties are exploring ways that emerging technologies like machine learning, big data, blockchain and cryptocurrency might shape the future of finance.

Exploring future applications of cryptocurrency, Dr Andrei Kirilenko at the Imperial College Business School says its real utility may be for transactions that do not involve people. For example, driverless cars might be able to pay road tolls more efficiently using cryptocurrencies instead of conventional electronic cash.

In the Department of Computing, researchers are aiming to limit the alarming computing power and energy required for Bitcoin ‘mining’. Professor Michael Huth and PhD student Leif-Nissen Lundbæk have looked at ways to make blockchain technology, which underlies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, strike a better balance between energy cost and security.

You can read more about how these researchers and others in the multi-faculty Fintech Network are harnessing Imperial’s cross-disciplinary expertise in our long-form feature, The Smart Money.

Beating the world’s biggest killer

The audience at a recent TEDxLondon talk experienced a fascinating journey through the miles of veins and arteries in the human body, guided by Imperial's Martin Cowie, Professor of Cardiology.

Heart disease causes 18 million deaths a year and within two generations has become a global problem. Professor Cowie explored the reasons behind this drastic worldwide increase and discussed what physicians like himself are doing to try and combat the problem, such as exploring new treatments through clinical trials.

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Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
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