5 Ways Electrical Engineering Can Improve Lives

Who wouldn’t want their job to be as rewarding and fulfilling as possible? If you have been stuck in a rut, looking for something worthwhile to do with your life, it might be worth giving electrical engineering some consideration. You don’t need to be a doctor, nurse, or firefighter to make a difference in people’s lives.

Science Today: “We step up, we transform”

Protecting Workers

Rescue workers and other emergency personnel who respond in the immediate aftermath of a disaster are often placed in great danger themselves. Within the last month, following earthquakes in eastern Turkey, a team of rescue workers was buried by an avalanche while working to find survivors of a previous landslide. 

Rescue crews who attend incidents where structures have collapsed with people inside face a similar dilemma – there is always a serious risk that the rubble will collapse while workers are searching it for survivors. In order to retrieve survivors or provide access to water and medical supplies, rescue workers have to shift rubble and debris about, which has a further destabilizing effect. 

A long-touted potential solution to this problem is to provide rescue workers with exoskeletons. An exoskeleton is like an artificial external skeleton. It can:

  • Designed to reinforce or strengthen a person’s own skeleton. 
  • Enable rescue workers to lift heavier objects with ease
  • Enable rescuers to perform work that would otherwise be impossible.

It is only recently that the technology required to produce these exoskeletons has been within our reach. Advances in a number of fields, not least of all electrical engineering, have meant that we can now design and build viable exoskeleton prototypes. Researchers will MIT have already shown off a number of potential designs, and robotics specialist German Bionic has designed an exo-skeleton specifically to be used in rescue operations. German Bionic’s designs go far beyond providing physical assistance and also have built-in GPS and other electric systems designed to aid the work of rescuers.

Improving Mobility

The technology and techniques that we can deploy to assist disabled and injured people have come a long way in recent decades. You don’t have to go very far back in our history to find disabled people living with a far lower quality of life than we would expect today. There are a number of factors behind this, societal attitudes obviously play a very big part. However, it is impossible to overstate how important advances in technology have been to this process.

Technological advances have enabled us to restore mobility to the sick, injured, and disabled in ways that would have sounded like science fiction not long ago. In fact, some of the most recognizable mobility devices around us today were once in the realm of science fiction, the same is true of lots of common technology.

If you have a passion for electrical engineering but you want to start a career that will give you plenty of opportunities to help other people and make a real difference to their lives, an electronic engineering degree is a fantastic subject to study. For example, Kettering University offers a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on advanced mobility, click here to find out more. If you want to pursue an electrical engineering degree so you can be involved in medical and quality of life projects, Kettering’s course is ideal.

Other degree subjects for those who want to help others include:

  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Public service
  • Teaching

Transforming The Energy Sector

Energy is a very important part of the modern world. Not enough of us give any serious thought to where the energy around us comes from, or how we will build and maintain the infrastructure that we need to continue to support future generations. However, the design, creation, testing, and construction of energy-generating buildings and its associated infrastructure require the trained eye of an electrical engineer.

As a species, it is imperative that we continue to move away from fossil fuels and give more of a priority to the renewable energy sources that we can harness without laying waste to our environment. In order to achieve this, we need to bring together the theoretical work of scientists who have a deep understanding of the climate dynamics that affect our environment, and electrical engineers who understand how to take those theoretical ideas and turn them into actual machinery.

Anyone who is passionate about the environment and wants to pursue a career where they can play an active role in improving it should give serious thought to work within the energy sector. Needless to say, there is plenty for electrical engineers to do here – from designing power plants themselves to designing and operating the turbines, boilers, pumps, condensers, and any other equipment that is necessary for building and transferring energy. 

Designing Safer And Autonomous Vehicles

Driverless cars are another one of those technologies that, until relatively recently, seemed like they would never leave the pages of science fiction books. Yet, here we are. By harnessing the power of machine learning and combining it with the unfathomable resources at their disposal, Google (or rather parent company Alphabet) has been working towards releasing a driverless car for the consumer market.

While some people remain skeptical of this technology, it is becoming harder and harder to doubt that Alphabet will achieve their goal – there will be a time when autonomous vehicles are the norm. However, getting to that point will require us to navigate our way around some significant challenges and, you guessed it, electrical engineers are going to be pivotal in helping that process along.

Turbocharging Medicine

It isn’t just exoskeletons and mobility devices that electrical engineers can contribute to the field of medicine, there are innumerable electronic devices used in modern medicine, some of them are even planted inside patients to be used. Electrical engineers are needed to ensure that these devices are both safe and effective.

Of course, other than wearable and internal devices, there are plenty of electronics that medical staff rely on on a daily basis. There isn’t a single electronic device in medicine that could not be improved upon in some way, electrical engineers are an important part of doing so.

Electrical engineering graduates will have the whole world at their feet. What we’ve listed above are some of the most rewarding roles available, but they are a small slice of the many rewarding jobs in electrical engineering.