Inventor of 3D printed hip replacements Susannah Clarke

Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal winners announced

The inventors of 3D-printed surgical instruments, in-building positioning and the F# computer programming language have all received prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering awards.

The three winners of the Silver Medals for remarkable technical achievements and commercial success have been announced today. The medals went to industrial designer Susannah Clarke, smart factory expert Andy Ward and programmer Don Syme.

“This year’s Silver Medallists are testament to the strength and diversity of UK engineering and demonstrate the breadth of exciting careers that engineering offers,” said Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“The winners are true leaders in their respective fields, having all succeeded in turning their cutting-edge research into commercial success stories.”

Susannah Clarke was awarded for her revolutionary 3D joint replacements that can be customised and tailored to the specific needs of every patient.

During her time at Imperial College London she studied why regular hip replacements fail and found that the most common reason was their poor fitting. Currently, a one-size-fits-all approach dominates the production of hip implants, providing little room for adjustments needed due to physical differences between individuals.

She later founded her company Embody Orthopaedic, which uses 3D printing to create better surgical instruments. The technology is now undergoing testing and is expected to be available in the next five years.

Her fellow award-winner Andy Ward impressed the Academy with his ultra wide band (UWB) radio for accurate in-building positioning. The technology enables tracking of individual items in a factory and facilitates factory automation.

Ward’s company Ubisense, founded in 2002, counts leading car makers including Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW and Honda among its customers.

The technology has also been used to track opera singers at the Royal Albert Hall and to give patients with brain injuries more independence in hospital.

The third Silver Medal winner is Microsoft researcher Don Syme, the creator of the F# programming language, which is valued by the industry for its clarity and interoperability with other systems.

The Silver Medals are awarded annually to mid-career engineers who have ‘advanced the cause of engineering in the UK and achieved significant commercial success’.

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