Imperial innovators exhibit design work with impact


Visitors and exhibitors at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main Entrance

Students from the renowned collaboration between Imperial College and the Royal College of Art are exhibiting their work at their Spring Show.

The exhibition, taking place from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 February, showcases work by students on the Dyson School of Design Engineering’s Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) and Global Innovation Design (GID) MA/MSc courses. Students on the courses work at the interface of design, engineering, science and enterprise to create a positive impact on society.

The Spring Show features work from transdisciplinary groups in the second year of each double Master’s and will be attended by the tight-knit alumni network of the course and industry contacts, as well as being open to the public.

Rob Holdway, Director of Giraffe Innovation Limited, visited the show and said: 'The hugely inspiring work of the IDE/GID students shows exactly the sort of thinking and problem solving that will help us deal with broader environmental and social issues. The excellent prototype models along with the students’ understanding of the impact these projects will have at scale, was impressive!'.

Visitors and exhibitors at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main EntranceMany of the student projects have already been shortlisted in the 2023 Venture Catalyst Challenge, Imperial College’s flagship entrepreneurial competition for Imperial students, alumni and early career researchers, to develop an innovative idea for commercialisation.

Dr Stephen Green, Head of Programme (IDE) said: 'Projects from the IDE programme, and the students developing them, have had an incredible track record over the years of forming successful ventures, Notpla and The Tyre Collective to name just two. It is exciting to see the potential of this latest group. Especially with many of the projects focusing on addressing environmental challenges through our distinctive combination of expertise in science and technology combined with design and creativity.'

Projects featured in the show include:

  • Carbon Cell, a carbon-negative, fully biodegradable replacement for polystyrene and other polymer-based foams. Carbon cell is made with biochar, the result of pyrolising organic biomass, including agricultural waste. Carbon Cell can be used in a variety of applications, including food insulation and protection. (Orli Blich, Eden Harrison, Elizabeth Lee, Juan Ignacia Rion)
  • Guerrilla, a retrofittable device enabling roadside drains to capture particulate pollution in rainfall which would otherwise be washed into the ocean. Guerrilla is powered by gravity and achieves a high flow rate and high efficiency using no electricity, no moving parts, and no membrane. (Summer Chen, Hunaid Nagaria, Henry Parkin, Adhesh Shenoy)
  • Microsentry, an innovative solution addressing the growing problem of detecting the microplastics which are accumulating in our oceans and waterways. Microsentry is a low-cost and field deployable in-situ sensor that can be attached to existing infrastructures such as data buoys, research vessels, and piers. It is designed to be used for continuous data collection, providing real-time, visual representative data that is relevant to water companies and the public alike. (Linxi Cao, Grace Duan, Irene Jia, Nirmal Thomas)
  • Dailya, a discreet and non-invasive solution for people wanting to relieve period pain discreetly outside of their home. Dailya is a washable undergarment with embedded heating that targets the pain zones in the abdomen and lower back area. It uses phase change materials to provide the heat needed to relax the uterine muscle contractions that cause period cramps without using electricity. (Muna Daud, Valeria Martinelli, Sachin Mehra)
  • Polytile, a research tool that utilises the structural properties of kirigami to investigate novel applications for self-healing polymers. Polytile comes in the form of a dashboard that can be used by material scientists in the lab for easy visualisation and generating material reference cards, advancing material research and helping scientists imagine their own research possibilities. (Vedika Lall)
  • The Biochar Tile, a tile made of carbon which filters the air in subway stations, reducing exposure to pollution linked to numerous health risks. It uses a carbon-rich biochar made from organic waste in wastewater systems and aims to provide a healthier environment whilst simultaneously storing carbon emissions from our environment. (Marie Munzi, Wei Zhang)

Dr Leila Sheldrick, Head of Programme (GID) said: 'GID students create insightful solutions to global challenges through exploring how we will relate to each other, our planet and our objects. The projects on show are the culmination of 10 months of global travel and experimentation working with diverse cultural and material contexts in Japan, India, Singapore and the United States.'

Audrey Gaulard, Senior Teaching Fellow, commented on this year's show: 'The IDE program is built on the unique blend of students from multi-disciplinary backgrounds and their varied experiences to find adapted solution for societal challenges. We are really proud of our 43 years of innovation and this year cohort has proven their talent in this Spring Show 2023. '

A full overview of student projects can be found on the RCA's IDE and GID pages.

  • Visitors and exhibitors at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main Entrance
  • Exhibit at the IDE/GID show - flowers in petri dishes and contains on a moss base
  • Visitors at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main Entrance
  • Exhibit at the IDE/GID show - a series of perspex hexagonal vessels fed by a tube
  • Visitors and exhibitors at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main Entrance
  • Visitor and exhibitor at the IDE/GID exhibition at the South Kensington Campus Main Entrance
  • Exhibit at the IDE/GID show

Photo credits: Brendan Foster


Helen Wilkes

Helen Wilkes
Faculty of Engineering

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