Engineering and IT students showcase their futuristic innovations

By Melbourne Newsroom

Watermelon with watermelon maturity device.

Have you ever seen a drone autonomously washing the windows on a skyscraper? A sensor detecting the peak ripeness of a watermelon? A child receiving a new 3D-printed hand as they grow and develop?

These are just three of the 130 projects conceptualised, designed and built this year by engineering and IT masters students at the University of Melbourne.

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Giving environmental water to drought-stricken farmers sounds straightforward, but it’s a bad idea

By Erin O’Donnell, Centre for Resources, Energy and Environment Law and Avril Horne, Department of Infrastructure Engineering

AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week suggested the government would look at changing the law to allow water to be taken from the environment and given to farmers struggling with the drought.

This is a bad idea for several reasons. First, the environment needs water in dry years as well as wet ones. Second, unilaterally intervening in the way water is distributed between users undermines the water market, which is now worth billions of dollars. And, third, in dry years the environment gets a smaller allocation too, so there simply isn’t enough water to make this worthwhile.

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The Road to Endeavour: What it takes to engineer the future

By Claudia Hooper

Closeup shot of 3D printer in action

Imagine if a drone could wash the windows on a tall skyscraper or a sensor could detect when a watermelon has reached its optimum ripeness. These aren’t crazy contraptions from Wallace and Gromit, but just a taste of some of the ingenious inventions designed and built by our engineering and IT masters students that will be on display at our Endeavour Exhibition.

These projects also include life-saving and life-enhancing devices, with an app designed to predict devastating bushfires, non-invasive medical tools to detect severe illness and 3D printed prosthetics for children in amongst 130 different projects.

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Memorandum of Understanding signed for future of connected transport

By Carl Jackson

The Australian Government and US State of Michigan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the future of transport safety advances in the field of connected and automated vehicles at the University of Melbourne on 1 October 2018. Coinciding with the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) Summit on Transport Safety in the Era of Digital Mobility, the signing of this agreement marked an important milestone in the collaborative relationship between the two governments.

Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder and Australia’s Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Andrew Broad MP signed the agreement, with Director of Michigan Department of Transportation Kirk Steudle representing the Governor of Michigan at the Summit.

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Making complex concepts understandable: 3MT People’s Choice winner Chinchu Mohan

By Claudia Hooper

3MT People's Choice winner Chinchu Mohan

Anyone writing a thesis understands how difficult it can be to quickly summarise their studies and make it engaging at a dinner party. They’ll often explain that it’s very ‘technical’, or niche when asked or avoid the question entirely. But then some others take the opposite approach, taking the challenge head-on and opting to not only condense their thesis down into a relatable three-minute speech, but to do so as part of a competition involving a recital in front of a large audience.

This is exactly what hydrology PhD student Chinchu Mohan did, winning the People’s Choice Award at the University of Melbourne’s 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition last month.

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New project aims to improve life for mobility-impaired people

By Carl Jackson

woman in wheelchair with dog in autumn nature.

243 million people globally live with disabilities that require mobility aids such as walking sticks, walking frames, blind canes or wheelchairs to carry out everyday tasks.

One of the most significant challenges for this group is the ability to travel independently and safely with uneven surfaces carrying the risk of tripping and falling. This could soon be set to change, however, with an enterprising group of researchers tackling the problem head-on. Comprising members from Melbourne School of Engineering and Melbourne Business School, SenseSEE uses a novel sensor technology to help mobility-impaired people safely navigate their environment with a custom mobile app.

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The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (September 14 2018)

By Carl Jackson

While all stories in this week’s round-up are wonderful (it’s not often you get a robot taking selfies on Mars), the story of Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s belated recognition for her discovery of pulsars after being passed over for a Nobel Prize in favour of a male colleague fifty years earlier is truly incredible.

Sit back, relax, and have a read through six of the best stories in STEM from the past seven days.
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Improving well-being through mindfulness – R U OK Day 2018

By Carl Jackson

How can mindfulness be used to better our professional and personal lives and improve mental health and well-being? As part of 2018’s R U OK Day, Melbourne School of Engineering hosted mindfulness expert Dr Richard Chambers to present on this topic.

The practice of being fully engaged, present and aware in each moment of our lives, mindfulness can benefit everything from stress management to interpersonal communication and empathy.

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The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (September 7 2018)

By Carl Jackson

3D illustration of connections and dots representing the concept of cloud computing.

Elevators to space, renewable hydrogen and a nanoscale discovery that’s quite a big deal; there was a lot going in the world of science, engineering and technology this week.

Take a look at the six STEM stories that caught our attention over the last seven days.
Continue reading “The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (September 7 2018)”


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