Lift13 Participant Profile: James Devine, Electrical Engineer at CERN

Magaly Mathys, Oct. 5, 2012
Who are you ?

I'm a full time Electrical Engineer at CERN. I spend my days designing and installing power supplies and infrastructure (from 230V to 18,000V) to support our physics programme, which includes everything from plugs in an office to transformers which power particle detectors. Before coming to CERN I was an electrical design engineer at Arup, where I used to work on more conventional projects such as offices, schools and sports centres.

In my spare time I'm a freelance geek, doing whatever I think is interesting at the time and always using technology. So far this year I've launched a high altitude balloon, built my own robotic drawing machine and prototyped a cosmic ray detector that plugs into an Android phone. I'm a big Arduino fan and recently I've started to use Android for my projects as these days mobile handsets are the best value computing and communication platforms available.

Why do you come to Lift?

When I was at Arup I remember being jealous of a colleague after he came into the office to tell us about a cool conference he had attended in Geneva. When I moved here looking up and registering for Lift was one of the first things on my to-do list. My highlight from last year was meeting Mark Stuppes, who created a fusion reactor in his garage.

Your recommendations to get the most out of the Lift experience?

Get stuck in, don't be shy to go up to interesting speakers, workshop leaders and people doing exciting things in the exhibition space. From my experience everyone is very friendly and it's a great place to meet new people. It's also worth chatting to the volunteers who help run the event (you can spot them in their uniform of Lift T-Shirts!), as they'll be able to help you get the most out of the conference - and they all have interests in exciting things like design, technology and social media. Finally, I would recommend going to the Fondue. In 2012 I sat opposite Steve Song of Village Telco and we had a fascinating discussion about the future of telecoms, embedded device architecture, distributed wi-fi networks in the developing world and lots more besides.