Things we take for granted these days – smartphones, public water systems and even light sockets – all started with an idea, Dean Louis Martin-Vega of NC State’s College of Engineering says in the accompanying video.
“The level of creativity associated with the development of these products is huge,” he says, casting Leonardo da Vinci as an engineer as much as an artist. “It’s very hard to be impactful in the world of engineering without really having that level of creativity.
“A lot of this is creating products that people never knew they had a demand for,” Martin-Vega says.
He notes that Apple’s Steve Jobs was no doubt a visionary – but he was also backed by an army of engineers.
“You had to be just as creative to make it happen as you were to come up with the original idea,” he says. “Engineering is sort of behind the scenes, below the surface, making sure that things do work.
“Think about the things that we take for granted,” he says, confessing that he still feels wonderment watching a multi-ton jetliner lift from the tarmac.
“We go in and plug into a socket, and everything is driven from that…. These things are not that easy to make happen,” Martin-Vega says.
“My thought process here is that we shouldn’t really take all of that for granted.”