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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Nirmal Thomas

Nirmal Thomas is a mechanical engineer turned designer working on systemic problems, creative technology and general engineering. He visualises ArtDesign and Engineering as threads that can create wonders when sewn together. As a generalist, his interests and motivation lie in systemic thinking, engineering economics and product design to transform concepts into impactful realities.


Data Visualisation Designer @ InvestAlert Ltd. (2022-2023)

Product Design Engineer @ Eyerov (IROV Technologies) (2019-2021)

Petroleum Data Analyst @ Petrolink Data Services (2018-2019)


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

B.Tech Mechanical Engineering - Mahatma Gandhi University, India (2014-2018) 

A young man in his twenties, wearing a stylish jacket and glasses, leaning against a wall."

ANEMO is a tiny step towards a Solarpunk future, a movement for a sustainable future where technology, nature, and community are interconnected in harmony. Utilizing novel technology like triboelectric nanogenerators, I have developed a low-cost, low-powered, and easy-to-deploy energy platform that will enable farmers to passively power agricultural IoT sensors connected to it, scavenging energy from ambient wind. 

My project's problem extends beyond simply developing a wind-based triboelectric nanogenerator for powering agricultural IoT sensors. The bigger picture is promoting sustainable agriculture practices, improving food security, and supporting rural communities. 

Agriculture faces numerous challenges in many parts of the world, including climate change, soil erosion, and water scarcity. These challenges not only threaten farmers' livelihoods but also have far-reaching implications for food security and the planet's health. 

IoT sensors are widely being developed, pushed and marketed by governments and companies worldwide to be used in the agricultural sector. The benefit of using these techs is clear and straightforward. However, the adoption of IoTs is sluggish due to a variety of reasons like the cost of upfront investment, lack of robust connectivity, and high power consumption, paired with limited access to energy sources and short battery life. 

Through a self-contained energy harvesting platform like Anemo, small-scale and independent farmers will be able to widely deploy and utilize otherwise slowly adopted systems like IoT sensors in their farms to monitor and gather crucial data like temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc., and can help promote sustainable agriculture practices that preserve soil health, reduce water usage, and support biodiversity. This has important implications for the environment and food security, as sustainable agriculture practices can help ensure a stable and resilient food supply for future generations. 

Furthermore, by enabling independent farmers to access and use data to make better decisions, my project can help promote equity and social justice in agriculture. By levelling the playing field and enabling small farmers to compete with larger, industrial-scale operations, my project can help support rural communities and promote local food production. 

My project intends to make a meaningful contribution to addressing some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today, including climate change, food security, and rural development. By developing a technology that supports sustainable and equitable agriculture practices, I help build a more just and sustainable food system for all. 

Infographics explaining the great farm challenge and food security problem
PROBLEMThe world needs to increase its food production using novel technologies to increase the food production.
Infographics explaining the status quo.
STATUS QUOThe different factors affecting the adoption of Agri-tech IoTs by farmers.
Infographics explaining the problems of not having enough IoT sensors
HOW IT IS NOW.Currently Agri IoTs are limited to few sensors giving only non-representative data.
Infographics explaining how it will be with enough IoT sensors in place
HOW IT SHOULD BEWith more sensors, farmers will have representative data allowing them to take much more informed decisions.
ANEMO BASE UNITThe Anemo base unit is a simple constructed triboelectric nanogenerator that gets activated upon wind harvesting energy in the process.
ANEMO FULL SYSTEMThe full system will have multiple base units to increase the total energy harvested to accommodate for multiple sensors.
Data Dashboard showing various parameters of the Anemo System
DATA VISUALISATIONThe easy-to-understand data visualisation helps the farmers to read the data they collect from their farms.
Different stages of development and prototyping
PROTOTYPINGDifferent stages of the prototyping.
MicrSentry Project
Launch Project
Collective Intelligence Project
Launch Project
Poseidon Fish Supply-Demand App
Launch Project