1 July

James Cook, a third year UCL Mechanical Engineering student who has been given CATIA guidance and consultancy by DTE, has won the ‘UCL Bright Ideas Award 2014’ for his design of a bicycle helmet that is setting new safety standards. UCL’s Awards for Enterprise recognise the achievements of students, graduates and academic staff in furthering enterprise and entrepreneurship on campus. At the ceremony, James was presented with a £15,000 funding cheque to enable him to commercially develop his concept.

The Bright Ideas Awards were established in 2008, and are designed to support the development of new businesses emerging from UCL. In total, a fund of £50,000 is made available to businesses led by UCL students. The successful applicants had to supply a full business plan, including specific details on how the funds would be used to finance business development.

James’s design combined two solutions which have proved to mitigate head injury by absorbing both linear and rotational head acceleration – Multi Impact Protection Systems (MIPS) and Angular Impact Mechanism (AIM). Designing an internal honeycomb structure for the helmet presented James with a number of modelling challenges. The honeycomb geometry itself is non-manifold which can be problematic in certain situations. The honeycomb wireframe needed to be drawn onto the internal helmet surface rather than a simple, flat surface and then the honeycomb needed to be “extruded” as a solid but in a direction that was normal to the surface at every point.

DTE provided CATIA support by outlining and testing a repeatable modelling workflow that James could use to work on different iterations of the design. This process might have been relatively easy for a simple piece of wireframe, but an important part of the process was not just obtaining the end result but doing so with a method that did not require huge numbers of clicks and interactions by the user. It was important that any changes and redesigns could be done with minimal effort.

Once the theoretical modelling process was understood, DTE then looked at importing a 3D scan of a real head and using that geometry to create a custom-fit honeycomb model. Again, DTE provided CATIA support to illustrate the reverse engineering path, from importing the 3D scanned data, to creating a smoothed surface model from this scan which could then be used to fully test the previous honeycomb modelling process around a more real-world shape. By the end of process, James had a solid model which he could create a first-off 3D printed sample and a working process to create further custom-fit physical models within a very short space of time.

Dr Tim Baker, a lecturer at UCL Mechanical Engineering, said:

“During the working week I wear both an academic and a commercial motorsport hat and know DTE from previous work that I have done in the industry. Back in 2002, I was looking for a CAD solution and came across DTE due to a colleague’s recommendation. Since that day I have worked with DTE on a regular basis and have always received a great service. I always find they’re willing to go the extra mile in terms of helping our students with their design projects.”

 

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