Durham's School of Engineering has been designing and building a solar powered racing car as a student group since 2004. I worked on the car from this date until my graduation; taking an active role until the race in 2011, and after this taking an advisory role while completing my PhD.
Durham University Solar Car (DUSC), since renamed Durham University Electric Motorsport, has taken part in a number of international races. At the time of my graduation it had entered two, and I was heavily involved in both. In 2008 we took the car to America for the North American Solar Challenge, racing from Dallas in Texas to Calgary in Canada, a distance of over 2400 miles. I was at the time the Motor Development Leader, and was part of the small Race Team - keeping the car running through the long journey. We came 14th, out of 23 entrants, and won the 'Best Rookie Team' award for new entrants.
In 2011 we took the car to Australia for the World Solar Challenge, the oldest and foremost solar race in the world, driving over 3000km coast to coast from Darwin to Adelaide along the Stuart Highway. I was again part of the Race Team, managing telemetry (transmitting battery and sensor data from the solar car to the support vehicles, as well as fitting the support cars with CB radios, a wireless network, and 240v electricity for powering laptops). As well as this I wired the electrical power for our trailer, wiring solar panels on the roof into control circuitry to charge batteries, supplying light and mains electricity (UK, US and Australian) both day and night.
I also assisted with the general design and construction of the car - including laying up the carbon fibre bodyshell, wiring the in-wheel motor (designed in house), wind tunnel testing, designing the indicator circuitry, and encapsulating the fragile solar cells to make them flexible enough to curve across the bodyshell.
We had a lot of publicity, including a piece on the BBC's Inside Out following us across Australia (clips shown above), and several articles on the online magazine The Register, amongst others.
Durham Go Club
Go (also known as Weiqi and Baduk) is an ancient oriental board game, with some similarities to Chess. It's played more traditionally in China, Japan and Korea than in Western countries, but there are several clubs in the UK.
I've been helping to run the club since 2006 - initially as a Training Committee member, then as Secretary from 2007-2012, and finally taking over the day to day running of the club in 2011 - teaching new players, arranging our bi-weekly meetings, and organising tournaments (including the major British Open Go Tournament).
I recently designed a basic set for beginners, designed to be given away for free. I managed to get the cost per set to under £1, and the British Go Association has been using them at training events.
I also maintain the website, including the ranking ladder - a computer system which keeps a record of all games played and calculates rank changes.
Make For The Planet - Borneo
'Andrew and Hua Khee played an integral role by providing their technical expertise, guiding Make for the Planet Borneo teams, and helping turn concepts into physical prototypes.'
Barbara Martinez, Open Innovation Director at Conservation X Labs, Lead Organiser for Make for the Planet Borneo
The event involved 15 teams from across the world gathering in Malaysia at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress to solve a number of global conservation challenges, with a short period to come up with a solution and build a prototype.
Restoring Reefs Everywhere: Scalable design innovations to restore coral reefs
Transforming Traceability: Incentivizing catch documentation for global fisheries stability
Reducing Ghost Gear
Beat Plastic Pollution
Rethinking, reframing, re-imagining the idea of ocean conservation: Marine Protected Areas to ensure a vibrant future
I remotely mentored teams both before and during the event, via email and video link - discussing their proposals, and giving them feedback and suggestions.
Several of the concepts demonstrated at the event are now being taken forward, and there was a reasonable amount of media interest
(including The Chronicle, NE Connected, and Business Up North, amongst others).
Talks to Schools and Universities
I have from time to time given talks to schools and universities on a number of engineering related subjects.
In early 2021 I gave a talk to the 6th form of Durham School, telling them about my time
building a solar car and racing it across America and Australia. I covered some of the interesting challenges involved, and
the amazing things that you can experience by taking part in activities like this - whether you decide to choose an engineering degree, or just
want to get involved. Hopefully talks like this will encourage the engineers of the future!
In the past I've
given talks to students at the University of Durham about some of the ongoing development projects at Tracerco,
such as the radiactive subsea pipe scanner Discovery.
'Mr Ambrose-Thurman likes building websites'
BBC Ouch: Disability Talk, December 2014
I've designed and maintained various websites. A brief selection are shown below.
An online Advent Calendar designed for the Durham branch of the Inclusive Church movement. Each day focussed on a different marginalised group. The calendar received a reasonable amount of media attention, including a mention on the BBC's 'Ouch!' podcast.
Not yet publically available, this followup project is due to be released for Lent 2019. It can be demonstrated on request.
It is considerably more accessible, with a number of features to make it easier to use for people who are partially sighted. It has a responsive design that is designed to work well with mobile devices as well as desktops.
I maintain the website for the Durham Go Club, including the ranking ladder - a computer system which keeps a record of all games played and calculates rank changes. This has included adding statistics for club attendance and individual rank improvement. The website has a PHP front end and a PostgreSQL backend.
I maintained the Castle Chapel website for about five years, including creating an interlinked database of forthcoming service details with orders of service. [This website is no longer maintained by me; the link is to a backup]
In 2017 the Church of England ran a week long series of events across the North East. I wrote the events website for things happening around the Durham area, as well as helping with much of the event's administration.
I jointly maintained the website and social media campaign for the highly successful TeamTao entry of the global Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE competition, notably during and around the official announcement of finalists (where TeamTao was one of only nine teams to progress to the finals), around the finals themselves in Kalamata in Greece (where TeamTao was one of only four teams to make it into the competition area), around the Prizegiving Ceremony in Monaco (where TeamTao won the Moonshot Award for our innovative approach to seafloor mapping), and during the development cycle for commercialisation.
I developed a series of web based user interfaces for the TeamTao project that were designed to work as well on a smartphone or tablet with a touchscreen as they did on big screens with keyboard and mouse. This included a mapping website accessible online that showed all scan data on a map and allowed for point cloud analysis from a browser within minutes of the AUV resurfacing.
I manage a student rental property, and have written a website to advertise the property. The site includes a 360° virtual tour for each room in the house, which I both photographed and created, and the website is designed to work well on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
Throughout my time at university I was heavily involved in the College Chapel. When the Chaplain of University College went on maternity leave, I was left in charge of the day to day running of the Chapel. This included organising the three weekly services, leading many of these, liasing with visiting speakers and priests who came to administer communion, and organising special events such as black tie charity dinners.
The annual British Open is one of the largest Go tournaments in the UK. It attracts players from across the country and from abroad, and moves around the country between host clubs. Durham hosted the British Open in 2011. I was responsible for the organisation and running of this event, including booking accommodation, booking venues, and dealing with any problems that occurred before and during the event.
When I became President of the Computing Society, there was a very low attendance. I organised a series of weekly computing and technology based talks and regular social events, which - along with an advertising campaign - greatly increased both the number of members attending events and also the number of people interested in taking a more direct role in the future running of the society. The talks included a range of speakers, from students to key speakers such as Professor Kevin Warwick (a world expert in cybernetics), and a representative from Bletchley Park (who brought a real Enigma Machine for the club to experience).