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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Henry Parkin


I'm Henry.

I enjoy creative problem solving with a practical emphasis: from defining the root of a given problem, through concept, iterating on initial experiments, to building working prototypes and test rigs for evaluation. 

On beginning the Innovation Design Engineering MSc / MA at Imperial College London and the RCA, I set out to build autonomous devices capable of performing ecological functions which address human-made problems, such as de-polluting our urban habitat.

In practice I apply emerging scientific research to real-world issues, through the use of mechanical design and electronics. This has meant building robots, devices, and tools, as well as designing circular business models and material-service/product-service systems.

For my final project at Imperial and the RCA, I have explored the therapeutic benefits of music and how they apply to training working memory for people with macular degeneration (the leading cause of irreversible blindness).

A photo of Henry laughing with the person behind the camera.

Henry is a Design Engineer and maker from Greater London.

Design Engineering experience:

Supporting Tutor - Imperial College London Engineering Summer School - 2023

Patent no. GB2301146 - Gravity Powered Liquid Treatment Apparatus - Guerrilla Technologies - 2023

Prototype Engineer placement - Mindlink.AI - Summer 2022

New Product Development experience:

Imperial College Enterprise Lab - 2023

InnovationRCA Patent Support and Startup Accelerator - 2023

Undaunted (aka Greenhouse) Accelerator programme - 2023

Terra Carta Design Lab - 2021-2022


Winner - London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2023 Environment track - (Guerrilla Technologies, gravity powered high-flow liquid treatment)

Finalist (ongoing) - Imperial College Enterprise Lab WE Innovate 2023 - (Guerrilla Technologies)

Runner up - London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2022 Tech track - (DatMap, data visualisation system & UI for internet cookies policies)

Runner up - London Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition 2022 Environment track - (Xellyfish, open-water microplastics removal)

Winner - RCA/Logitech/Sustainable Ventures/Extreme E Grand Challenge 2022 - (Reef Bell, passive acoustic enrichment for reef conservation)

Winner - LVMH This Earth Award 2021 - (Xellyfish)

Winner - Creative Enterprise Award 2021

Winner - Barry Martin Prize 2021

Chime is a music therapy intervention in macular degeneration support groups. It is delivered as a numeric memory board game which scales in complexity, and its physicality necessitates group play. The project is a collaboration with 17 members of the Macular Society who each have macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, causing loss of central vision where some peripheral vision can remain.

With macular degeneration, memory is at risk due to diminished signalling to the brain via the eyes and loss of visually dependent activities. Memory is, however, one of the key coping strategies for navigating daily life in blindness.

Through a process of participant observation, focus groups, interviews, prototyping, and experimentation, we arrived at music as a research-backed method of meeting the three aims of the intervention:

exercising working memory, encouraging social cohesion among the support group, and facilitating self-expression through collaboration.

The outcome is a socially engaged outlet for training working memory. It makes some of the therapeutic benefits of music accessible to blind non-musicians via a dynamic alternative to Braille notation, because none of the project collaborators use Braille.

Gameplay is adapted from the musical form of bell ringing, where music is generated by sounding mathematical permutations. This is because bell ringing is an inherently social activity, and it's played by memorising methods for generating each change in musical sequence - making it brilliant exercise for working memory. Pieces of bell ringing music have been adapted to form levels in the game.

The device pictured helps players to navigate levels of increasing difficulty by transposing visual music notation into sequenced vibrations. This allows players to learn new methods for training their working memory by generating music together.

6 people learn a new method for generating music together, with the help of a dynamic alternative to Braille notation.
Gameplay in the Kensington Macular Support Group
Chime's hardware interface is analogous to a clock face, with the speed adjustment dial between numbers 1 & 6
The most recent prototype
6 bells are hooked up to sensors which can register when each bell is played
An experiment into the use of bells for human computer interactions
Chime transposes music notation into sequenced vibrations by reading each row, reading each number, & sending signals to motors
How Chime interprets bell ringing notation
Chime works using an arduino mega, 3 mx1508 motor drivers, and 6 3volt motors - this image depicts the parts of the device
Parts included in Chime
A robot designed for illuminating transparent objects with coloured light
An early experiment into assistive robotics
A mechanical linkage allows players to raise a peacock feather on activating a bell - signalling who is making what sound when
An early experiment into visual peripheral signalling

Guerrilla is a highly efficient device meant for membrane-less removal of pollutants from surface water runoff.

30% of all ocean pollution is mobilised by surface water runoff, making it the single largest mobiliser of city pollution into the environment. When it rains, debris of human activity washes away from our impervious built environment and roads. With toxicity comparable to sewage, this runoff is a cocktail of road, tyre, and brake wear, microplastics, toxic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pathogens etc. and is discharged into water bodies untreated, damaging aquatic ecosystems and human health.

Guerrilla extracts contaminants passively using no membranes, moving parts or electricity and operates at high flow rates and high efficiency, while fitting into the current maintenance regime of cities.

Guerrilla is versatile and retrofittable into various sized existing roadside drains as an array of individual units which can independently perform highly efficient phase separation (98% with simulated runoff) without reducing the throughput capabilities of the roadside drain.

Based on predictive analysis: In a city such as London, with the installation of Guerrilla in just 250 strategic roadside drains, the turbidity of the river Thames can be brought down by 37% at less than the cost of a Toyota Prius.

Guerrilla is installed into a gully pot - 16 modules arranged in a grid slot into a frame
Guerrilla retrofits into the existing roadside drainage infrastructure
Guerrilla in the lab between test cycles - 9 modules are fitted to a frame which matches the dimensions of TFL gully pots
Working prototypes mounted in a frame for lab testing
One Guerrilla module is lowered into a gully pot
One working prototype being lowered into a gully pot
SID is a scorpion-dog robot
Launch Project
Scorpion is Dog (SID), with Steph JumpScorpion Is Dog (SID) is a bluetooth controlled hexapod robot with over 12 programmable functions, including walking, waving, stinging, kissing, and even dancing.
A shoal of Xellyfish swimming with a duck
Launch Project
Xellyfish, with Steph Jump and Eve TownsendXellyfish is a creature-like device designed to extract microplastics from water using ferrofluid. It does this using biomimetic ferrofluid tentacles, which act like fly-paper for microplastics due to non-polar Van der Waals bonds and surface tension. This project was developed through an iterative process of prototyping and testing.
A ferrofluid-enabled pipe module showing plastic attached to ferrofluid
Ferrofluid-pipe technology for removing plastic particles from waterFerrofluid-pipe technology for extracting plastic particles from water. The aim of this project was to achieve reliable, reproducible results while improving the time-efficiency of the approach used in Xellyfish. The project culminated in a series of experiments testing the efficacy of my prototype. This prototype proved ~82% efficient during testing, but the use of ferrofluid incurs a high maintenance cost which limits the feasibility of the technology.
Data visualisation for internet cookies & privacy policy
Launch Project
DatMap, with Hunaid Nagaria, Jasper Mallinson, Sachin MehraA novel, visual form of consent management on the internet. DatMap is a data visualisation system which facilitates quick and informed decision making at the point where people are required to hand their personal data over to organisations.
Reef bells installed on aa coral reef, being investigated by reef fish
Launch Project
Reef Bell, with Joon Hyung Park, Zoe Jia Xiong, Xiaowei Fang, Zifan ZhangReef Bells are analogue instruments designed to be played by the ocean current on coral reefs. Tuned to mimic the percussive crackling sound of a healthy reef, Reef Bells act as an aural navigation tool for baby reef fish which spawn in open water and navigate to coral reefs by listening for the sounds made by the animals which inhabit them.