Factory of ideas open at the Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition 2015

An e-tool that allows visually impaired people to detect hazards and obstacles is just one of the student inventions that will be launched at the Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition 2015, the University of Melbourne’s showcase of design projects.

This year, projects include designing robotic arms and emergency cooking methods for refugees.

The Exhibition is hosted annually to showcase the engineering and IT technology of tomorrow, as designed by final year students.
Endeavour’s Academic co-ordinator Professor Andrew Western said Engineering and IT is everywhere, and generates new knowledge through diverse research projects.

“Clever engineering can help unlock the future and allows for exciting initiatives to come to light and ultimately improve our lives and the world we live in,” Professor Western said.
“In the case of the e-tool for visually impaired people, students are working on canes with obstacle-detecting capabilities to help avoid risky situations”

“The automated obstacle-detecting cane is both low-cost and portable, and is capable of reliably informing of any obstructions and dangers in front of the user. This is achieved through the use of ultrasonic reflection and video camera image processing.”

Another group made the decision to improve the system design to reduce the sound of trams wheels.
Student Benjamin Kaufman said the screeching of a tram’s wheels as it rounds a corner is a sound all Melbournians are familiar with.

“Our group decided the noise and wheel wear could be significantly reduced as the wheels turn.”

Some of the other inventive final year projects to feature at the Endeavour Expo include:

  • Moving a real-time computer image of an arm using only electrical brain activity (with applications for robotic arms for those with upper body mobility issues)
  • Tissue engineering to repair the human eyelid
  • An energy efficiency project at the Reptile House at Melbourne Zoo
  • Teaching a robot to play tennis
  • Using motion capture of an actor’s face to apply with live animatronic performances
  • Engineer Without Borders (EWB) projects creating an emergency cooking solution for newly displaced refugees in transition
  • Recycling the methane from cows to power dairy farms to enable them to be sustainable
  • Using airborne photogrammetery and spatial data to explore archeological sites such as castle ruins in Georgia (former USSR)
  • Analysing, identifying and measuring the pollution in Port Phillip Bay
  • Creating a GPS app to allow people to explore Melbourne’s hidden public art scene.

Special guest at Endeavour 2015 is Ms Lama Nachman a senior Intel engineer based in the US. Ms Lachman has worked closely with Professor Stephen Hawking to upgrade his communication device.
She will deliver the keynote address at the Endeavour Industry & Awards Night.

Ms Nachman has worked on intelligent wireless sensors for environmental and health monitoring for many years and believes that technologies on the market for the general population can be leveraged for people with disabilities.

The Endeavour Engineering & IT Exhibition 2015 will be spread over three venues at The University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus: Wilson Hall, University Hall and the Melbourne School of Design, on Thursday 22 October from 11.30am -4.00pm. Members of the General Public are welcome to attend.

This event is part of Melbourne Knowledge Week, 19 – 25 October 2015, proudly presented by the City of Melbourne.