Engineering isn’t all about engines

05 Oct 2018 3min read

Having recently worked alongside a local primary school where many of the children believed engineers ‘fixed stuff’, I was delighted to see this new flap book created by Usborne.

Lift the Flap Engineering was published for the 2018 Year of Engineering government campaign. It starts by saying “Engineering is not just about engines.” – hooray!

When we opened the first page to find 5 clear steps explaining what engineers do (ask, imagine, design, test, build), my husband and I (both engineers) knew we wanted to read this with our two small children.

The book explains that engineering is about improving people’s lives through the everyday objects we interact with. It focusses on 8 different areas:

• Medical equipment
• Gadgets
• Planes and spacecrafts
• Culture
• Robots
• Machines
• Massive structures
• Green technology

The concepts are explained with simple language, but this book isn’t just for 2 or 3 year olds who like to lift a flap (or more likely tear it off!) – it has some quite complex ideas.

For example, it uses the bicycle as a commonplace ‘machine’ to explain different engineering principles. It discusses friction (reduced through ball bearings), triangular sections (for strength) and mechanical advantage (through gears).

It also keeps up-to-date with robotics and medical advances, explaining the use of different types of sensors within robotic applications, low-cost and high-cost prosthetic hands, and minimally invasive surgery to insert pacemakers.

Flap book showing how engineering impact medical devices like bionic hands, pacemakers and ultrasound machine

The text often outlines the inspiration behind engineering advance. It highlights the frequent transfer of knowledge from one sector of engineering to another application alongside ‘accidental’ discoveries, such as improved vision from altering the shape of the eyeball (which inspired laser eye surgery).

There is even a drawing of one of my favourite pieces of sculpture, ‘Cloud Gate’ in Chicago (also known as ‘The Bean’), which describes the role of engineering in culture.

All in all, it’s a great resource. And come on, who wouldn’t get excited by over 70 flaps in just one book?

Rhona is part of our mechanical engineering team where she applies her mechanical design and analytical skills across various client projects. Prior to Team Rhona has been involved in the design, development and analysis of orthopaedic devices through various research projects.

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