Author: Sam Hyams -
The Design Exhibition is the culmination of a year’s work for 3rd year and final year students, with group project and individual final year projects on display for fellow students and guests alike. For Team Bath Drones, as with all student competition teams, the Design Exhibition serves as an opportunity to showcase the hard work and dedication that has been put in throughout the year to produce our competition machine. This is not taken lightly, and many long days and nights were spent in the week leading up to the Exhibition to ensure we could show our latest developments to visitors. Our new fuselage and winglet structures were the highlights of our exhibition, with a focus placed on a high level of detail and reduction in weight.
The team was granted an entire corner of the Exhibition as display space, and we made use of this by setting up our prototype aircraft, catapult launch mechanism, and ground control station. Having the actual aircraft set up was a valuable tool to gain interest from passing students, departmental staff, and industrial visitors, most of whom have little knowledge of the team and are interested in finding out more about us and the competition.
Adjacent to us were the 3rd year Group Business and Design Project drones team, made up of both Aerospace and Integrated Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students. Their 15-strong team had spent their semester designing an innovative VTOL hybrid UAS for life saving search-and-rescue operations in the Scottish highlands, a project supported by GKN Aerospace. We had offered help and advice to the team when needed throughout their project and it was great to see their final design so well presented.
The exhibition quietened towards the end of the day, with students remaining to browse others’ projects. Each final year undergraduate produces a poster on their final year project, and I took the chance to find friends’ posters and read about what they had been doing for the semester. This showed the variety of engineering on display, with projects ranging from computational modelling of gas turbines to the design of an ergonomic bionic hand, and novel applications of micro-hydraulic actuation to the development of computer vision for fault detection in badminton. Within the team, we had a wide range of research-based projects and it was clear how each of these projects had contributed to our final design, either through improvements to our competition aircraft or through a better understanding of our VTOL aircraft efforts.
At the end of a busy day, I went to the evening Team Bath Racing Electric car launch to support my fellow students and watch the unveiling of their 2019 Formula Student car. Despite interacting with the team often, I didn’t know much about their work and it was interesting listening to the differences in design requirements and team dynamic between our two teams. It was a fantastic event to attend and I wish them, and all the other competition teams, good luck for this summer!