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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Jingyan Chen

Jingyan Chen is a Design Strategist whose background is in Product Design & Manufacture. He is interested in the combination of design innovation and technology, user experience, and planet-centred design. He has participated in various projects including some focusing on household electronics, advanced tech, UI/UX, robotics and urban ecosystem.


MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering – Royal College of Art and Imperial College London (2021-2023)

BEng Product Design and Manufacture – The University of Nottingham (2016-2020)


Winner of Creative & Customer track, Venture Catalyst Challenge (2023)

Shortlist (ongoing) The International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA, 2023)

Shortlist (ongoing) Reddot Design Award (2023)

Finalist, iF Design Award (2023)

The Greenhouse Fellowship, Royal Institution & The Grantham Institute (2023)

Winner and Investment beneficiary, XBOTPARK Incubator Competition (2021)

A photo of the designer, Jingyan

Vent-Ion is a super silent aerial platform equipped with next generation ion thrusters, capable of conducting open-environment bat surveys and eliminating all human bias.

Bats are important however currently we are lacking methods to study bat behaviour, since all devices used are either bulky (ground microphone array) or causing noise disturbance (UAVs). The noise interference not only decreases the usability of data samples but can also scare 80% of the bats away, and leads to biassing in their behaviours at the same time. There is literally no effective record of utilising any form of UAVs for natural behaviour study (for example mixed-species) in the open environment.

Vent-Ion uses an incredibly quiet propulsion system, ion thruster, which allows ecologists to approach bat colonies with good mobility, acquire high quality echolocation and IR records, while maintaining a negligible interference level.

Bats are extremely undersampled especially if ecologists use drones to do the survey
Bats play an important role in the ecosystem as the second largest group of mammals on earth. Each bat can consume about 3,000 insects every night, contribute to 3.7 billion USD equivalent pest control cost in the US. They also help pollinating more than 500 flowering plants and lots of rainforest species. However, they are out of our reach in the open area.
The design opportunity as designing a super silent, non-invasive aerial platform for open environment bat behavioural study
I concluded my design opportunity as designing a super silent, non-invasive aerial platform for open environment bat behavioural study, capable of using IR images to visualize the data and keep it easy accessible.
The propety of ion thruster
Working principle of ionic wind
The air molecules are ionised by the high voltage applied to the circuit, accelerating along the electric field, when bumping into other neutral particles, and pushing them away, to create the ionic wind. The whole system has no moving part, which makes it incredibly quite, except the high pitch hazzling sound generated from the corona discharge.
Configuration iteration
Different spacing, shapes and materials were tested to optimise the ionic thrust.
Different iterations
The noise level of Ion propulsion system
Final outcome visual
Visual rendering
Flying prototype
Flying prototype
Steering system prototype
Steering system prototype
User journey of the whole system
Firstly the user will locate a designated spot for the survey, after approaching, the blimp can perch on the tree canopy, shut off the thruster completely, making itself non-invasive. This perching mechanism can also help the blimp stay longer in the air. A few hours the bat colony start moving to another place, my user can turn on the engine again and follow the colony at some distance, making sure not to disturb them.
PulpaTronics main visual
PulpaTronics offers a more sustainable solution to RFID tag manufacturing by eliminating a large number of conventional steps. Our novel technology relies on a single material, paper, that can be sourced locally and, if coming from a sustainably managed forest, constitutes a renewable material. As for creating the circuitry, the new solution comprises a single step: laser-inducing a conductive layer of carbon-based material onto a paper substrate.