Breadcrumbs

Nice work if you can get it

13 August 2019

Jeremy Zolnai-Lucas

Londoner Jeremy Zolnai-Lucas was doing his gap year in New Zealand and needed a job.

The 19-year-old had moved from Auckland to Hamilton and, as luck would have it, a couple of Waikato University computer scientists needed a research programmer.

Dr Judy Bowen and Associate Professor Annika Hinze, along with Professor Rangi Matamua from the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, are devising a technological way to keep forestry workers safer on the job.

The research team has MBIE Smart Ideas funding for their project called Tini o te Hakituri and with WorkSafe New Zealand they’ve been holding hui in Northland with workers from Lloyd Logging, Johnson Training Services Ltd and Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust. These are facilitated by Erina Korohina from the Centre for Health in Tauranga.

Jeremy’s task was to design and programme a portable, wearable device that could collect data from sensors measuring such things as heart rate, sweating and step count. The device needed to be small but able to both store and analyse data out in the field. It also needed to be able to upload the data whenever the wearer was within range of a Bluetooth receiver or WiFi.

Jeremy says he felt a bit underqualified to start with, but he had been in a young engineers group in the UK, where he designed a semi-autonomous robot that could detect unexploded incendiary devices. “It was moderately successful, but didn’t always work!” he says.

He’s learned a lot working on the Hakituri project, including making a 3D printer case, and building a customised printed circuit board. “What’s more my device works,” he says. “It contains a rechargeable battery and is small enough to fit on a belt or in a pocket. I’m pretty pleased with the result.”

Dr Bowen says Jeremy proved to be a real asset to the team with an innovative and self-motivated approach to problem solving. “For someone who was new to the university, within about a week he had made all sorts of useful connections and knew exactly where to go or who to ask for anything from an Interloan research paper to a soldering iron.”

Jeremy leaves New Zealand this week to return to the UK where he’s enrolled at Cambridge University to study engineering.

"We wish him well with his studies at Cambridge," Dr Bowen says. "But we hope he feels like coming back for some summer work during his semester breaks."

Latest stories

Related stories

 Dr Alison Campbell

Science educator named Honorary Fellow by the University of Waikato

A long-standing University of Waikato academic and science communicator has been named an Honorary Fellow…

Michèle Prinsep

Waikato academic ranked in top one per cent in the world for research citations

A University of Waikato researcher who identifies compounds in marine species which could be used…

Emry Daniels

Recognition for Pacific student who quit his day job for a design degree

Video gaming, tech gadgets and te reo Māori inspired 41-year-old Emry Daniels to quit his…

Professor Troy Baisden

Professor named new president of the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS)

Professor Troy Baisden, who is based in School of Science at the University of Waikato,…

Sharna McCleary

Science student uses mushrooms to help clean up Whakatāne canal

Oyster mushrooms are helping to clean up an historically contaminated timber processing site in Whakatāne,…

Carolina Short

Design tutor’s font makes it big on Google

A fun project created to engage her design students has led University of Waikato Tutor…

Maui Hudson & Tahu Kukutai

Fighting for Māori data rights

Two researchers are helping to pioneer a global initiative that seeks to restore control of…

Waikato students can “breathe easy” thanks to new scholarship

A new scholarship is available to University of Waikato students thanks to the generosity of…

Lead researcher Prof Albert Bifet

Waikato Data Scientists awarded $13 million

Data scientists at the University of Waikato have been awarded $13 million from the Government.

Dr Lee Streeter

Time-of-flight researcher awarded by Royal Society

Dr Lee Streeter has solved a big problem in time-of-flight technology, improving the measurement of…

Chemquest

Whakatāne High School win ChemQuest

Students from Whakatāne High School took out the top prize at the University of Waikato’s…

STEM Fest

Uni campus hosts STEM Festival in Tauranga

As a main sponsor of the country's first world-class STEM Festival (STEMFest) event, the University…