A recycled plastic bike and robotic apple picker were among the many projects featured at the annual Engineering Design Show held this week, showcasing the innovative and exciting things students from the University's School of Engineering have been working on.
Situated at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, from Tuesday 15 October to Thursday 17 October, the event was the perfect opportunity to meet talented engineering students and academic staff, and learn about their work and experiences.
As the high point of the University’s professional engineering degree programmes, students excel themselves in designing, building and testing new products, structures and solutions for real world challenges both in New Zealand and overseas.
One such project is Ben Moore and Tim Sun’s Recycled Plastic Bicycle, which aims to find a use for the stored recycled plastic New Zealand is currently stockpiling by creating a sustainable mobility source.
“We’re trying to prove that recycled materials are a viable option for manufacturing products, so more money can be invested in the future to make them useful,” says Ben Moore.
Another group of fourth year students have built an apple harvesting and thinning robot; no easy feat when you have to programme the robot to differentiate the fruit from the rest of the tree, and then pick it without damage. With the apple industry the second biggest primary industry contributor in New Zealand and facing labour shortages, they will be testing their robot in actual orchards this coming season to see if robotics could fill the gap.
As well as student projects, there were daily competitions running each morning. On Tuesday students raced their ChemE (chemical powered) cars with two teams coming first equal, and on Wednesday Civil students tested their bridges to destruction, competing for the highest load to failure for the most economical use of materials. Then on Thursday, Mechanical students demonstrated their autonomous vehicles, designed to deliver a box of seedlings to forestry workers at five set locations.
On Thursday afternoon a prize giving was held, celebrating student work from each level (100-500 level). The following students were awarded the OJI Fibre Presentation Merit: Shaira Mendoza, Josh Braithwaite, Emary Venter, Richard Power, Cody Taylor, Tom Vosper and Alasdair Campbell.
The following students were awarded the OJI Fibre Presentation Excellence: Robyn Mayne, Aaron Wong, Rhys Compton, Tara Fernandez-Ritchie and Joshua Tritscher.
The ESR (Engineers for Social Responsibility) Sustainable Design Project prize was presented to Tenille Nisbet and Monica Jones by Norm Stannard and Hugh McMurray.
Part of the show was also aimed at local school students, called Experience Engineering (E²), where they get insights into the variety of disciplines within engineering as a profession, and insight into the projects produced by Waikato students. They also get a taste of Uni life by eating lunch at one of the Halls of Residence.