Bristol graduate Jennifer Griffths has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal for outstanding personal contribution to UK engineering.

“Receiving this medal from the Academy means a lot to me as they do so much to encourage young people and women into engineering, which is something I’m really passionate about, especially given my own career choices,” she said.

While studying a Masters in Computer Science at the University, Jennifer Griffiths came up with an algorithm which allows people to use photographs to search and shop for clothes. In 2009 she won the University’s New Enterprise Competition, giving her £15,000 to develop the idea.

Based on the algorithm developed at Bristol, Snap Tech is the first fashion-focused visual search engine in Britain. It lets users ‘snap’ a picture of an item of clothing – whether in a magazine, on a website or on the street – and search for similar items from online retailers.  The technology is licensed to retailers and publishers.

In the ten years since she graduated, Jennifer has attained global success with Snap Tech, and at 27 was awarded an MBE for services to digital innovation in the fashion industry in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

“I’m always proud of our world-first technology and for being a part of the AI revolution that I and so many engineers in the UK and throughout the world are driving today,” she added.

Snap Tech uses a blend of classical mathematical heuristics with the latest deep neural network technology.