A new exhibition that features challenging interactive games will allow young people to engage with engineering by bringing to life the skills engineers use every day.
‘Engineer Your Future’ has been opened by The Prince of Wales at the Science Museum in London, where he met with students from Chelsea Academy, Industrial Cadets and Engineering Apprentices during a tour of the exhibition.
“The aim of Engineer Your Future is to surprise, intrigue and tempt the vast numbers of young people who visit the Science Museum to think seriously about becoming engineers,” said Ian Blatchford, the museum’s director in a statement.
Aimed at children aged between 11 and 15, the first installation reveals compelling stories of the women and men who work in engineering, featured in a short film called ‘We Engineer’, and displays cutting-edge prototypes for faster racing yachts, safer houses and prosthetic arms.
Watch 'We Engineer' video:
Emma Hedderwick, project leader at the Science Museum, told E&T it was imperative to create a space that inspired teenagers which relied heavily on interactive apps, video and imagery rather than convoluted information in written form.
In ‘Rugged Rovers’, players can design a vehicle that can travel the furthest across alien landscape and compete against other rovers – some designed by a real Mars rover engineer. Visitors can also explore ‘FutureVille’, a futuristic cityscape projected onto a large 3D-printed mechanical set, where players need to pick up and take engineers to work, while learning about over 30 real-world industry professionals. The last interactive game, inspired by complex engineering, from electrical grids to rail networks and baggage handling systems, allows players to design and navigate the systems.
Daisy Watkiss, a 13-year-old Industrial Cadet who worked for ten weeks on a pipe prototype project for schools, was inspired by the exhibition.
“It’s been good to see everyone else’s work,” she told E&T.
In his opening speech The Prince of Wales used several recycled quotes from past addresses – going back to 1978 – to highlight that the engineering landscape hasn’t changed as much as it should have over the past years.
“Nothing seems to have changed in nearly 40 years, except that now everyone is running around like headless chickens trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” he added.
“This country really does have the most enviable history of enterprise in the fields of engineering, science, technology and manufacturing. But the truth, as you will know far better than me, is that we face an acute shortage of engineers.
“There are engineering skills shortages at both graduate and technician level, and we are simply not doing enough to bridge that gap.
“We need to continue efforts to alter the perceptions about engineering and manufacturing in homes, schools and the media and to promote the vocational, technical routes alongside the graduate opportunities.”
‘Engineer Your Future’ has been supported by a consortium including ABB, BT, EDF Energy, IBM, Mott MacDonald, National Grid, Network Rail and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Royal Academy of Engineering and EngineeringUK.
Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid and chair of the consortium, said: “Engineering is creating the future. The Internet, the tablet computer, space rockets, the electricity grid that supplies your homes, are all designed, built and maintained by engineers. If creating the things that are going to shape all our futures excites you, they why wouldn’t you want to be an engineer?”
‘Rugged Rovers’ can be played online and on mobile devices, available on Android and iOS.
The free exhibition will run for three years.