Why

Have you ever wondered on your commute: Why are there only half as many armrests as human arms on these train seats? Why does that person’s backpack produce 2 feet backwards?

And if you want to take a 1 hour flight anywhere, chances are you’ll spend 2 hours either side of it cramped in some hideous form of transportation, cursing traffic. When you get to the airport, the staff all bark at you (even though you are kind of paying them…)

More seriously though: Google urbanization. Google overpopulation. If you’re young and you live in a big city you probably feel a little helpless. Property is too expensive. It’s too crowded. It’s not safe or comfortable to raise a family. It’s too noisy. It’s too dirty. Good food must be imported. It’s getting worse.

But I think there’s hope. I suspect that overpopulation is a perception rather than the reality – I think we’re too clustered together in big cities because of the need to be physically close, and that with better mobility we can spread out and make better use of the plentiful space here on Earth.

In the same way the Internet has connected us (or in Elon Musk’s word’s given humanity a nervous system) and made the movement of information so much easier, there’s enormous scope to improve the physical mobility of goods and people (think circulatory system). If it becomes easier, faster and more dignified to travel, we can all spread out again and be less grumpy.

[Update Q1 2020: Covid19 happened. The other solution is to work from home and exploit connectivity. Maybe that’s the easy way to spread out…]

I hope you get a sense of the grand challenge, and why I care.

What

I want to contribute to solving the challenge, in my own small way. Over the last few years I’ve spent my mornings and weekends learning design, ergonomics, aerial robotics and data science. I’ve used those things to think about ways to make mobility better. This website is home to all of my personal work including design, code and some hardware projects. All of the drone art and illustrations are mine, and I try where possible to do things from scratch, including the drone project.

I’ll also aim to keep the blog up-to-date with research and reviews on the grand challenge. I would love comments and contributions, currently looking to collaborate with an electronics engineer and somebody who’s good with structural textiles.

Who

Welcome to omarkadhim.com. I’m Omar. Born and raised in Jordan with short spells in Australia and Yemen. I have been in my new home, the U.K. for the last 10 years.

I studied aerospace engineering and have worked in various consulting and commercial roles in the aerospace sector. I’m currently at the UK’s aerospace and defense trade association ADS, which is a great intersection of aerospace industry leaders, mobility entrepreneurs, policy makers and government funding vehicles. My day job is to understand what makes our member aerospace companies competitive and help them get customers, investment and talent.