When looking for a new project, how ambitious should you be? Back in 2014, a group of friends came together and collaborated with Mattel toys to send a Superman into space. Combining electronic and mechanical engineering with an eclectic range of other skills, the result was a stunning example of what can be achieved when a small team of motivated individuals works together.
The group had something in common – DesignSpark. DesignSpark is the engineering community of global distributor, RS Components. Celebrating its 10th year during 2020, it provides engineers with a wide array of tools, information and software designed to make engineers’ lives easier.
Following the success of the Superman project, the geeks of DesignSpark looked for a new project. Many possibilities presented themselves, but one idea rose above all others – Drones.
Robots, drones and autonomous vehicles are becoming more prevalent in modern society. However, when we hear these words, we almost always think of land vehicles or UAVs – unmanned aerial vehicles. Rarely do we think of sea-going vessels.
Seaquest was conceived to showcase some of the latest techniques and technologies from the world of electronic and mechanical design. The project combined rapid prototyping and 3D printing with the latest advances in electronics. The goal was to create an autonomous, sea-going vessel that could navigate its way across a busy channel.
Pete Wood, Head of Demand Creation Partnerships at DesignSpark (and a long-time friend) told me, “When geeks have a midlife crisis, they don’t buy a red sports car, they do fun stuff with toys and models and realise their childhood dreams.” One of Pete’s childhood dreams proved to be an additional incentive – Pete has an ambition to break a world record!
I won’t try to do justice to the whole story in one post – watching the videos is far more entertaining – but it’s an epic tale of trial and error, disappointment, setbacks and finally success, with a side order of fire and an extra helping of arguments with French Coastguard.
If you are looking for inspiration for your next project in the New Year, visit the Team Seaquest website and watch the video series. It might be better than anything else you’ll see on TV today…