ACSE student Samuel Rhodes has reached the finals of the Triumph Design Awards, his product will be displayed at the Big Bang Young Engineer of the Year Competition in March 2019!


Before joining ACSE I studied A Level Maths, Physics and Product Design Engineering as well as Further Maths to AS Level. I chose ACSE because I have a real interest in robotics and intelligent systems, especially in how AI and other predictive behavioural algorithms can be used in modern projects to both improve efficiency and usability. Since I was the age of 10 I have wanted to enter the field of robotics because it excited me on a technical level as well as the potential it has to change people’s lives in the future.

In the future, after gaining experience from a wide range of companies and their styles of working, I want to eventually start my own business growing it from the ground up. I want to create a business which is able to touch people’s lives and improve them, using technology leveraged from the yields of electronic and data science fields.

It is hard to pinpoint just one favourite thing about studying in ACSE as I am enjoying all of my modules, but my two favourites are Embedded Systems and Modelling, Analysis and Control. Embedded Systems shows, on a fundamental low level, how transistors work, as well as the logic microprocessors undertake when running programs. Modelling, Analysis and Control uses a side of maths I haven’t encountered before called Laplace coupled with control theory to create and design appropriate feedback systems. Providing the fundamental backing as to how to create intelligent and adaptive systems and the ingenious insights that this sort of modelling can bring is really interesting.

The support I have received from my lecturers’ and GTA’s throughout my first term has been fantastic. 

My favourite part about living in Sheffield is definitely living so close to the Peak District. I come from a fairly rural area where its 20 minutes to a city and 20 minutes to the countryside. For me, Sheffield mirrored this style of living. Most weekends I will be out on my bike or hiking in the peak district, there are some amazing views which are great for helping you relax and take a break from your studies. I have also joined the Scuba Diving Club which I am really enjoying, I have met many great friends and it is a hobby I definitely want to keep.

About the competition:

The Big Bang competition recognises and rewards young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths. Whilst providing them with the opportunity to build their skills and confidence in project-based work. Finalists compete for over £20,000 worth of amazing prizes, including top and runner-up prizes in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories for science and engineering. As well as the coveted titles of GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year and GSK UK Young Scientist.

Read more about the Big Bang competition.

About my competition product:

I am a keen Underwater Hockey player, and as a participant in the GB trials I noticed there was a significant need for a product which was able to help train players to flick in the sport, which is arguably the most important skill needed. Throughout my A-Levels I developed a product to address this problem. I worked with the GB U23 and U19 coaches to decide on a list of criteria that the product needed to fulfil. This included being portable, fully repairable, cost effective, sustainable and able to be fully assembled under water in a single breath whilst wearing a thick padded silicon glove. After much iteration I came up with a solution that met all of these, it was met with great enthusiasm after trialling it on my local club.

Throughout my time at University I have been prototyping various adaptions to improve the products performance and reduce its manufacturing costs, making it commercially viable. As well as this, the product has recently been adopted by the GB U19 Women’s coaches and is currently used as part of their selection criteria for the GB team. It enables played skills to be analysed in a way that is ground breaking in the sport. During the summer the product reached the finals of the Triumph Design Awards and will be displayed at the Big Bang Young Engineer of the Year Competition in March, which ACSE is helping support me through. Here I hope to showcase it with the new improved adaptions as a commercially viable training aid.

The future of the product:

In June I am aiming to launch it to an International market at the GB International Competition for Underwater Hockey, and develop it into more of an analytical training aid. With the use of my studies I hope to be able to embed electronics within it and other products to provide analytical feedback which will progress player’s capabilities though insight. Similar to how the use of embedded screens have allowed the GB skeleton team to make leaps in the Winter Olympics in 2018.