Dr Kristel Fobelets is a Reader in Microelectronics, and our Director of Undergraduate Studies. She is currently managing a comprehensive review of our undergraduate degree courses, which will give our students greater flexibility, more space to reflect and learn, and help prepare them for careers in the increasingly fast-changing world of 21st century engineering and technology.
Engineering is not repairing things, engineering is imagining and making new things to the benefit of society."
Design features solidly throughout Kristel’s engineering story: “I always liked to design things, and when I had to choose a stream in engineering, I first considered architecture. Designing elegant buildings like Victor Horta — also a Belgian, or like Le Corbusier which are more functional but take the need for a good work-life balance into account.”
“In another life I might have liked to join designing a new RHS garden, focusing more on renewable energy, moving art, and water saving and cleaning scheme. Maybe the engineering does seep through everything I would like to do if I hadn’t chosen to be an engineer.”
Design for life
This Is Engineering encourages young people to follow what they love into engineering, and Kristel has managed to combine her love of knitting, with her research — designing clothing which integrates sensors, using nano-scale energy harvesting and storage technology.
One potential application for this is in healthcare: “I knit coils into comfortable garments for wireless power transfer and breathing monitoring. I’ve knitted a cute pink baby romper suit, and I’m now designing a lab set-up that can simulate a baby breathing. My children are adults, and my colleagues will surely refuse to lend me their babies.”