The annual Waikato Engineering Design Show kicks off at University of Waikato next week, with the usual thrills and spills, and dozens of practical solutions to real world problems on display.
The annual event at the Hamilton campus brings all the university’s engineering years and disciplines together for two days of crazy activity. Civil, mechanical, mechatronics, chemical, environmental, electrical, materials and software engineers will showcase their multiple talents and ability to build stuff, automate stuff, fall off stuff, and pilot boats into cloudy waters.
School of Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr Tim Walmsley says it's the only event in the country where all the different engineering disciplines come together and demonstrate real multidisciplinary collaboration by working on problems together, underscored by the huge variety of final year projects.
“A unique feature of Engineering at Waikato is the flexibility to collaborate across the disciplines – the way of the future. Our final year projects often bring together students from different engineering fields to address a real world problem in a more comprehensive way. Our agile, future-focused approach stands in contrast to the traditionally, discipline-silo projects of the older engineering schools at other NZ universities.”
Key tasks for the two day spectacle include students working together to test a 4m bridge span that must hold them up, piloting boats around the university lake to collect rubbish and, of course, the automated harvester, where students design and build machines to autonomously scale a “hill” and collect apples.
“We've got final year students who will demonstrate practical solutions to the labour shortage in the kiwifruit industry, solve issues with large scale plasterboard cutting, address dangerous cycleway issues and much more,” Tim says.
Families, prospective students and industry leaders are all expected to attend, with games and activities on offer for the younger ones.
“We’ve got a huge range of demographics and nationalities on show,” says Tim. “We hear so much about how important it is to get females, Māori and young people interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) – this is a great way of seeing just what that means. Better solutions are engineered when everyone is involved, and that is very, very cool to see – and a whole lot of fun.”
Engineering Design Show: Wednesday October 26 and Thursday October 27
Location: University of Waikato campus, Hamilton
Register now: at waikato.ac.nz/eds