Today, we continue the conversation with a man who was awarded the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Engineering. Professor James Trevelyan from Perth is well known for his pioneering research on Sheep Shearing Robots from 1975-1993 at the U of Western Australia – where he was awarded many international engineering and robotic awards.
He then moved into the research of Landmine Clearing Methods where he made a big impact in countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Balkans, and many Africa countries.
He then took on local schools in Islamabad, where together with his father-in-law, they architected toilet access for young kids.
And now, as Western Australian of the Year, at the ripe age of 65, he founded “Close Comfort”, where he and his students engineered a personal air conditioning unit which has been made affordable for countries such as Pakistan - which aligns w his belief that safe respite from dangerous heat conditions should be a basic human right.
In 2013, his TedTalk titled “Ending Poverty: what engineers can do”, was a real reflection of his commitment to contributing engineering services on behalf of the rights that all humans possess. The Goods on James:
Prof. James has always been passionate about creating a positive impact on other people’s lives. He has led quite a journey from being a researcher, an academician, an educator, a world-recognised engineer, an author and so on. At 65 years old, he believed his contribution to solving some of humanity's greatest challenges wasn't over; he started Close Comfort to provide safe access to affordable cooling solutions to billions of people at risk of exposure to increasingly dangerous heat conditions without warming the planet!
On the way, he was awarded the prestigious Engineers Australia medal and was recognised as 2018 Western Australian of the Year in the Professions category.
Close Comfort is just another example of James's belief that his role as an engineer and as a human is to give back to communities.
· In the past, he has developed sheep shearing robots that would cover the eyes and shield sheep from the shears cutting the wool while helping them fall asleep. The innovation was awarded the engineers equivalent of the Nobel prize and put him in a position "to devote the rest of my career to researching problems that truly mattered, that would help solve some of the tough challenges facing humanity
· Instead of retiring after reaching the top of his engineer career, he turned his expertise and knowledge to clearing landmines from countries like Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Balkans in southeast Europe, and many countries in Africa.
· Or in term of being literally safe from harmful heat conditions:
in Pakistan and most parts of the globe, air conditioning is costly, and for the few that can afford this luxury, the energy-hungry appliances prove too much for the energy grid to handle, leading to power outages. So, Pr James launched Close Comfort at 65 y.o, believing that safe respite from dangerous heat conditions, far from a luxury, should be a basic human right. Contact James:
Close Comfort: www.closecomfort.com/au/our-story/
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