Oliver Powell is an Electronics Engineer at Ultraleap, the world’s leading mid-air haptics and hand tracking company. He is based in the Core Engineering Team where he works on PCBs (printed circuit boards) and schematic design. Oliver has a MEng degree from Cardiff University, where he studied Electronics and Communications Engineering.
From a young age, I always enjoyed building and playing around with computers and their components. At secondary school, my Physics teacher was rather biased towards Electronics – it was a large component of our practical experiments, even though it wasn’t necessarily part of the curriculum. A careers advisor then encouraged me to study it as a subject at university as it can open a lot of doors. Even if you don’t end up going into Electronics, you learn how to problem solve, which is a great skill to have.
Essentially, it’s the science of manipulating electricity (electrons) to do interesting and useful things. Electronics shows you how things we use daily work.
No one else does what we do at Ultraleap. We are at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, and the electronics behind it are pretty cool. I love that my role is surprisingly creative, even though it’s not technically a creative role. In Electronics, there can be a million different ways to approach challenging problems, but our team still has the creative freedom to choose the way that we solve issues. I also like that I’m still able to get my ‘hands dirty’ with a bit of soldering and immersed in the nitty-gritty from time to time.
Electronics is growing exponentially at the moment, there is always something new and exciting to learn about. Our tools are constantly changing – things are getting smaller, becoming more complicated and using less power. I’m always asking, “What can we do now that wasn’t possible two or three years ago?”. It’s great – it keeps me on my toes!
The Internet of Thing (IoT) and 5G are already beginning to make waves and soon nearly every device will be connected in some way. It will be a lot simpler when everything can talk to everything else. Even city infrastructures will be interconnected!
For me, the most interesting is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) with IoT and 5G. It’s difficult to say exactly what it will result in, but over the next 10–20 years devices are going to become super smart and be able to make decisions on their own. We might even see augmented humans, which is both terrifying and exciting at the same time.