Bringing Winning Ideas to Life with Simulation Technology & 3D Printing for the Shell Bright Ideas Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a short piece on my experience of working with schools across the UK for the Shell Bright Ideas Challenge, an open competition where school teams create ideas for future power generation solutions. I recently had the pleasure of teaching the finalists about how the combination of simulation driven design using Altair Inspire, combined with 3D printing technologies could bring their innovative ideas to life. I showed the students how their designs could be enhanced by using Altair’s simulation techniques and set up for production by the additive manufacturing team at HP.

Over the weekend at Shell’s impressive Make the Future Live festival in London, UK, the finalists’ ideas were displayed within the event’s public exhibition area, with visitors invited to review the entries and cast a vote for their favorite idea. Several hundred votes later, we had a winner!

On a blisteringly hot day in the capital of England, Rachel Riley, who for those reading from outside the UK, is a STEM ambassador as well as a regular on national television as a host of a popular maths based quiz show, went on to the main stage and announced ‘The Beautiful Bright Beginning’ team from Whalley Range High School as worthy winners! The team raced towards the stage to collect their trophy, and for a short time at least, proved to be celebrities themselves as other teams offered their congratulations and posed with them for press photos.

Their winning entry was based around a source of energy called piezoelectricity – a type of electricity that is generated from pressure and latent heat. The team had an idea to generate this energy by utilising the mechanical stress of a person taking a step by inserting a device into the soul of a shoe or trainer. The energy generated would be stored in a power-bank which could then be used to charge a mobile phone or other small devices. With the huge increase in ownership of smart devices that people carry around with them, and charge on a daily basis (if not more), it was a great idea that has the potential to save energy as well as providing energy without having to rely on the grid.

The Beautiful Bright Beginning team were presented with a prize of £2500 by Shell which will be used by Whalley Range High School to continue to push STEM subjects and get their students excited by design and technology. When Rachel asked the team how they would spend the money, they responded by asking their teachers for a 3D printer, I hope they get their wish and continue to experiment and innovate.

I would like to thank all the school teams for working with me to apply optimization technologies within Altair Inspire for their designs. It was a great experience working with students who were so enthusiastic about the potential of topology optimization and 3D printing and I would like to wish them success in future design and engineering projects. Finally, thank you to Shell for inviting us to participate in the Bright Ideas Challenge this year. It was a fascinating experience and one I’d like to repeat.

For more information about using Altair technologies in education, please visit


Fady Abayazid
Fady Abayazid

About Fady Abayazid

Fady Abayazid is an Applications Engineer at Altair. He graduated from Queen Mary, University of London with BEng in Aerospace Engineering (First Class Honours) before completing an MSc in Advanced Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London. Fady then joined Altair in September 2017 and has had the main responsibility of providing customer support with software usage and providing on- and off-site customer training.