Ori Blich, Taught Postgraduate, Dyson School of Design Engineering and Royal College of Art

Ori Blich

“Taking part in the StudentShapers programme was a rewarding experience that broadened my understanding and enhanced my skills.” 

I am a second-year master’s student at the Dyson School of Design Engineering and the Royal College of Art, on the Innovation Design Engineering course. This course is a unique blend of the arts and sciences, bringing together a diverse mix of students from different backgrounds. In the previous academic term, I was part of a dynamic team of four that created a revolutionary, carbon-negative, biodegradable replacement for petrol-based foams, such as Styrofoam. Working on this project gave us a chance to collaborate with experts from different departments across Imperial, which was a valuable learning experience for all of us. 

As someone with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, I have always been fascinated by the manufacturing and making processes, the interaction involved, and the skills required for such processes. Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to be part of the StudentShapers programme, which supports staff and students working together on a broad range of projects related to educational development and educational research. I worked on a project called ViRSE, which stands for Virtual Reality for Student Education, and involved creating a mechanical lathe simulation for mechanical engineering students. The lathe can be quite daunting for first-time users in the workshop, due to its high speed and noise. So, our goal was to create an engaging onboarding experience for students, that would prepare them for their first real-life interaction with a lathe. 

During this experience, I was fortunate enough to meet and learn from experts across Imperial, including the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s technicians. I learned how to use Unity, a popular game engine, and was responsible for designing the interactions and building the entire ViRSE environment by creating a 3D model of the lathe. I worked closely with workshop technicians to understand the challenges students face, including recording the technician working on the machine to capture valuable insights to inform our design decisions. Taking part in the StudentShapers programme was a rewarding experience that broadened my understanding and enhanced my skills in the field. 

As a student, I’m always juggling a million things at once, but I recently discovered the benefits of meditation. It’s amazing how even just a few minutes of mindfulness can help reduce stress and boost creativity! Now, it’s a regular part of my routine and a much-needed escape from the daily chaos of academic life. 

Applications close soon for this year’s StudentShapers projects – find out more.

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