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Inventor Aston Walker knows all about rebuilding. When he moved to Birmingham in 2002, he was homeless and had to work his way up from nothing. He then discovered STEAMhouse, where he began expressing himself and creating exciting concepts. Now he is working with Vodafone, developing a computer game that utilises the unlimited powers of 5G technology.


Aston, who also studies at Birmingham City University, believes that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of STEAMhouse. “It really was the catalyst for this journey into higher education,” he says. “It prepared me for academic life and study. I came to Digbeth with just one idea and left doing something I did 30 years ago. It feels like I have come full circle, and my passion for making things and learning has been thoroughly enhanced by STEAMhouse. It’s been life-changing.”

Through STEAMhouse, Aston has untapped a vast amount of possibilities. “I have attracted a major sponsor, a company called Solidworks which makes CAD software,” he says. “I am also working with STEAMhouse in developing a reactor 5 solar-powered UVC LED water disinfector, which will help make a big difference to the world water crisis.”

Helping shape the future of 5G

Aston was introduced to Vodafone through his work with on AI and machine learning, which he has been conducting with Professor Mak Sharma of Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. “We are now in the process of prototyping and architecting games that can make use of the high speeds of the 5G network,” Aston says. “I take a keen interest in any knowledge around 5G, and by engaging in research it helps to contribute to the wider debate.”

The aim of this work is also to gain a better understanding of 5G. “It’s a very sophisticated and ground-breaking technology,” Aston says. “5G requires academics and students to really understand the challenges of this new technology. Self-driving vehicles, Internet of Things, advancements in distributing medical data…all of this means tomorrow’s technologists and industry leaders need to know how best to use this technology. Hopefully, I will be able to make a useful contribution to understanding 5G and its practical applications.”

You can find out more about Aston’s work by visiting his blog.

Overcoming adversity

Aston has come a long way since he first arrived in Birmingham. “When you’re down, it’s not about being in that place, but how you overcome it,” he explains. “Being at STEAMhouse is the same – it’s about overcoming things.

“What I hope to do is inspire others to make the leap from having an idea into making things. There’s a lot going in these maker spaces that inspires me. It’s great to express yourself without any restrictions.”

Interested in taking your ideas to the next level? Find out how STEAMhouse can help turn your concepts into creations by applying for your free membership here. There is also the chance to take in STEAMhouse’s amazing facilities, meet the team and find out how they can help you by booking on to the next free tour