Adam Malpass is a Senior Engineer working for leading electronics design company Dialog Semiconductor. He specialises in analogue electronics and is currently based in Tokyo, Japan. He studied Electronic Engineering at the University of Southampton and was sponsored by Dialog during his UKESF Scholarship. Adam is an award-winning engineer; he won the UKESF Scholar of the Year in 2011 and then in 2013 became the Electronics’ industry ‘UK Young Engineer of the Year’. He has designed circuits that have been used in millions of smartphones and IoT (Internet of Things) devices worldwide.
Here Adam tells us about his experiences and what’s exciting in Electronics right now and in the future…
It’s a cliché, but I’ve honestly been into Electronics for as long as I can remember. Since I was very young I was intrigued by different kinds of gadgets and robots. I always wanted to know how they worked and I often tried taking things apart (and sometimes successfully putting them back together again). I can’t say where that very initial spark came from, but for sure since that time I was well supported by my family (my dad is also an engineer and my mum a pharmacist, so I have a scientific family background) and also I had some great Science and Electronics teachers at school who helped to nurture my curiosity.
Electronics plays a vital role in modern society. Every time you watch a video on YouTube, snap a selfie on your smartphone or use the GPS on your car you are using some of the billions of electronic chips out in the wild. Software and web services often make the headlines, but they all rely on advanced electronic hardware to work, and hence electronics is the foundation from which all these modern tech products work.
It’s great to know that something you have designed has been made, works as expected and is now being manufactured in millions of units to be used by people all over the world. Recently I’ve been working on several exciting new projects for some major consumer electronics companies and so I’m really looking forward for those products being released, but I’m afraid my lips are sealed for now!
Also, we work in very diverse teams, both in terms of engineering specialities and in geographical spread. I’m based in Japan at the moment, but I regularly work with others in the rest of Asia, the UK, Europe and the US, etc.
The world is quickly becoming more digitised and electrified, with many products that were not previously associated with electronic engineering quickly becoming major electronic machines. Take, for example, cars – a traditionally mechanical product – which are now essentially computers on wheels with a staggering array of microprocessors, sensors and other gadgets stuffed inside. The same is becoming true of hundreds of other product categories too, and as an electronic engineer you can take part in helping to design and develop all of them!
For many years the Electronics industry relied on Moore’s Law to make progress. Every 1–2 years the size of transistors shrank by about half, allowing more-and-more to be placed in a single chip. However transistors have now been as made as small as atoms (!) so this scaling is set to come to an end soon. With that in mind, it’s up to engineers like us to make smarter designs and better topologies to continue improving the performance of computers and all the other technologies we like to use, well into the future.
Find out more about Adam here.