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The battery by engineer Mark Whitby

The battery has enabled mobile technology to take off – calculators, mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras – where would we be without the battery allowing us to stay in touch, record events and do sums?

You wonder how we’d all operate without battery power. You’d have to have constant secretarial back-up, have to carry a phone book and a supply of twenty pence pieces and pop into call boxes. I mean how did people manage?

Mobile phones also give you the opportunity to snatch a few minutes out of a busy day to call the family. We’re used to things happening at such speed now that we are reliant on battery technology to allow us to get in touch with that person, wherever he or she is around the world – phone them, email them, text them.

The battery is the unsung hero. On construction sites, there is also the revolution of cordless drills, electric screwdrivers and the like which all make life that bit easier.

I think it’s made life infinitely more efficient and actually less stressful because you can always record events and send and receive information.

Mark Whitby is founding partner of engineering firm, Ramboll Whitbybird and former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His projects include  the Merchants Bridge Manchester, the York Millennium Bridge, the Henley Rowing Museum and  the BBC’s headquarters at Langham Place.

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