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Academic year: 2022



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Engineering and Food Technology has been taught at Massey University for over 50 years. Our graduates can now be found working, innovating and leading in industry in New Zealand and around the world. Today, Massey University offers a wide range of technology related programmes (Engineering, Food Technology, Information Science and Construction), at both undergraduate and postgraduate (Diploma, Masters and PhD) level.

While providing a strong grounding in the principles of engineering and technology we recognise the need for graduates who are well rounded in their problem solving skills, communication, ability to work in teams and have an appreciation of the wider commercial, economic and social environment. The culmination of the undergraduate Engineering and Food Technology degree programmes are the final year projects. This booklet presents summaries of the Engineering and Food Technology 4th year individual projects from 2015.

Engineering students can choose to major in one of four key areas – Product Development, Mechatronics, Electronics and Computers, and Chemical and Bioprocessing. Food Technology students can major in either Food Product Technology or Food Process Engineering.

A Massey University Engineering or Food Technology degree provides you with the high level of technical knowledge AND the professional skills to truly make a difference –

today and into the future.








Mechatronics graduates are likely to be involved in building machines; the capstone project aims to give them the opportunity to practice this.

Unlike some of the other majors, the mechatronics capstone is not done with external clients. Instead the students are given three machines to build, which are done in rotation. The three machines to build come from a factious plant and cover manufacturing, assembly and packaging.

The first half semester is taken up with learning basic techniques such as image processing to identify shapes and controlling a stepper motor from an Arduino. The class was then broken up into six groups of four students for the remaining tasks.

The manufacturing task requires the students to build a machine to drill holes in pre-cut blocks of wood. The students modify a manual drill press and have available stepper motors, air rams, limit switches and all reasonable hardware around this. A feed chute must be provided that can accept four blocks with the completed blocks being discharged down a chute of their devising. An Arduino is used to control the system.

The assembly task requires the students to control a conveyor and robot. The robot is controlled directly from Visual Basic 6 via USB. The conveyor will be controlled from an Arduino, slaved to the laptop/PC. A webcam is used to look at the conveyor, check the block for accuracy, and ascertain the position of the holes in robot-space. The robot is then programmed to sequentially grasp four dowels, orient them, and insert them into the four holes. The dowels are lying on the conveyor and come in four different colours, to match the four different holes in the block.

The packaging task requires the students to design a cardboard box and cut out flat cardboard that can be folded into the boxes using the laser cutter. The box should be able to contain five of the wooden blocks and 20 dowels. The boxes cannot be glued. A machine then needs to be built to erect the boxes. This machine will be controlled using a PLC and will have a suitable interface with the user.

The students have found the tasks very challenging; there is a real difference between a machine designed and built for an academic purpose and one that must meet industry requirements. This paper is therefore a very valuable lesson for them



Like many countries across the world, New Zealand also witnesses a number of household fires every year. These household fires are detrimental to the urban infrastructure, and more importantly, to human health and safety. Most of the household fires are consequences of faulty smoke detectors that do not respond to the important events (presence of smoke and flames for example). As part of their Capstone project, the ECE students (Smart Rangers) at Palmerston North have developed an innovative range hood that detects fire and alerts the household members about the same without delay. In addition to supporting all daily cooking activities, the developed range hood detects the presence of a kitchen user and automatically activates the required lights and fan. It uses a set of sensors that respond to a number of events that indicate the possibility or presence of fire in the kitchen. Secondly, most range hoods come with an alarm bell (or a siren) that rings when fire is detected. The developed solution uses telecommunication services to convey the alert signal to the cell phones of the household members. Cellular networks (more specifically GSM) are used considering their long range and widespread deployment. In addition to the legacy bell that rings to indicate fire, the concerned members get a phone call or a text message about the emergency situation. The developed solution is a standalone low-cost unit with easy installation steps that is meant for common households of New Zealand.




The Capstone project is an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge gained throughout their degree. It also provides a transition to their working life next year.

The PD/EIM projects are all based on real projects that have been identified by New Zealand companies. The students, in teams of four, work with their assigned company to develop a new product or solution to a manufacturing problem. This requires the students to apply their engineering theory in providing a solution that can be practically applied within the company’s operating environment. These are projects based on real world problems, defined through collaboration of the project team with their partner company.

This year, the companies that have provided projects include Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Rinnai, Trutest and Hotter Engineering. The focus of the projects has ranged from the design of a new gas-heating product to providing potential solutions to the frictional wear of rotational milking machines. All projects have required the students to work closely with a number of key stakeholders including users/consumers, trade suppliers, legislative bodies and company representatives.

The final output from each project is a working prototype of the recommended solution with a detailed analysis of its potential for full-scale commercialisation.


“The capstone project has given us the opportunity to work with industry and collaborate with professionals who are willing to help and share their knowledge. It provides real-world context and has allowed us to apply our experiences and skills to develop a commercially feasible product.” Albany students

“The product development capstone project has been a fantastic experience for us this year. Not only were we challenged in all of our engineering capabilities; we were fortunate enough to work alongside Hotter Engineering, which has given us a taste of real world engineering.” Palmerston North students



To meet the target to double New Zealand export return by 2025 it is essential to add value to primary production. Here, four CBE project groups have been focussed on the seafood industry, where increases in production are not possible due to the quota system to maintain sustainable stock levels of fish in New Zealand waters. Nevertheless, the opportunities are large where approximately 70% of the wild catch and 30% of aquaculture fish are not consumed by humans. Currently these remaining raw materials are mostly processed into low value fish meal and fish oil, which is sent overseas for further refining. The design groups were charged with the task to add value with the proviso that they still handle all of the remaining raw material. They first investigated the processing options. For their selected option, they develop a process flow diagram with material and energy balances from which they carried out a process economic analysis. Later they develop a detailed plant-wide piping and instrumentation diagram, a plant layout drawing and conducted a life cycle assessment as part of the resource consenting process. In this exercise, each group developed a processing point of distinction by which they added value. The group names follow and members’ names are listed below. IKA ROA added value by including a gelatin process. Amaho added value by making fish protein hydrolysates. Pisces added value by making protein peptides plus further refining of fish oils. Poseidon added value by making collagen.





By replicating the complex micron - and nanometer-scale photonic structures that help give butterfly wings their colour, researchers have demonstrated a new technique that uses biotemplates for fabricating nanoscale structures that could serve as optical waveguides, optical splitters and other building blocks of photonic

The Butterfly


Successful innovation demands the understanding and integration of a wide range of inputs. Industrial Management & Innovation at Massey Engineering provides the students with an excellent basis in engineering, complemented with industrial management, quality assurance, marketing and innovation practice.

Graduates in Industrial Management & Innovation are well places to take on roles which demand an ability to work in a multi-functional environment where a high level of communication and integrated problem solving is essential.




Daniel Burgess

The Manurewa High School

Major: Engineering and Innovation Management Supervisors: Dr Sanjay Mathrani, Prof Jim Jones Industrial Sponsor: AFFCO NZ

Paunchgrass Handling

A research project investigating the management of paunchgrass - the stomach contents of cattle - which is a

waste stream of meat processing plants. The paunchgrass is high in phosphorus, which can cause eutrophication if

emitted to waterways. A broad look at available techniques and technology for managing paunchgrass waste and

phosphorus removal, including waste-water treatment as a whole. Possible outcome may include best practice

guidelines for the management of wastes in the beef meat processing industry, to maximise resource and

energy recovery, for a more sustainable beef supply chain.


Mike Horrell

Major: Engineering and Innovation Management Supervisor: Dr Aruna Shekar

Open Innovation

My research project is titled “Open Innovation Best Practice within New Product Development: a model for New Zealand Small & Medium Enterprises”.

Through comparisons of the literature with industry qualitative data a model has been developed that will provide assistance to firms that plan to engage in collaborative innovations. Data was obtained through case study research of the most innovative SME’s within New Zealand where interviews were conducted with a number of relevant product development employees that could provide information on the challenges they have encountered in their collaborations to-date. By synthesising this information clear trends were identified and used to produce the final model.




Kyle Asplin

Otumoetai College

Major: Product Development Supervisor: Dr Greg Frater Industrial Sponsor: Dominion Salt

Environmental Challenges within a Salt Refinery

The project consisted of analysing the current water usage within the salt refinery plant and determining which areas consumed the largest amounts of fresh locally supplied water. The next stage was looking into current waste water outputs from refining process (i.e.

condensate, the liquid which is evaporated from the brine during the boiling stage) and determining whether this condensate will be able to be reused elsewhere in the plant. A project output was a system design enabling 100%

recycling of condensate. This design has been accepted by Dominion Salt.



William Fisher

Otumoetai College (Tauranga) Major: Product Development Supervisor: Ralph Ball

Industrial Sponsor: Oasis Engineering Ltd.

Filling a Compressed Natural Gas Cylinder

An investigation to understand the effect of pipe and valve sizing on the filling of a compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder. When on- board CNG cylinders in vehicles are filled through the fast-fill process a temperature rise from compression occurs, limiting the mass of gas that can be transferred into the cylinder and consequently reducing the driving range before refilling is required. A theoretical and experimental approach was used to understand what affects the amount of charged gas in a cylinder and ways in which a “more complete” fill can be achieved for the fast fill process.




Stanley Fung

Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS) – Wellington, New Zealand

Major: Product Development

Supervisors: Dr Greg Frater, A/Prof Nigel Grigg, A/Prof Jane Goodyear

Sustaining Lean in New Zealand Small to Medium Enterprises

The New Zealand’s manufacturing sector is facing increasing pressure to significantly improve their productivity. The government, through the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), has taken steps to help manufacturers’ boost productivity growth through a directed campaign to apply Lean Manufacturing.

Several high-growth-potential companies were selected to participate in NZTE’s Aichi Lean program, which ran from 2005 through to 2008.

In 2009 Massey University carried out research to evaluate the degree of success of this Lean programme. It was concluded that ten of the eleven companies had either not sustained or looked highly unlikely to sustain their Lean transformations. In general organisations were struggling with changes ‘below the waterline’

of the Iceberg Model, elements absolutely necessary to stay Lean.

These problems were comparable with the experience of overseas manufacturers also attempting to embed and sustain a Lean culture.

This project seeks to revisit those companies and re-evaluate their ability to sustain their Lean transformations. An output is to develop recommendations for a holistic sustainable Lean model that can be used to empower businesses across the NZ manufacturing sector


Greig Keesing

Orewa College

Major: Product Development Supervisor: A/Prof Johan Potgieter

Industrial Sponsor: Roger Smith (HIEFF Motors)

Reduced Back Pressure Car Exhaust System

In an exhaust manifold there is a high pressure area caused by rebounding pressure waves, this is called back pressure.

The goal of my project is to design a non-return system that would allow pressure waves to flow freely from the cylinder but that breaks up any rebounded pressure waves, this will reduce back pressure and allow the exhaust gases to exit the cylinders more easily.

The end result will be a manifold which incorporates hook shaped baffles that allow pressure waves to flow freely away from the cylinders. When the pressure waves rebound they are caught by the hooks and are either broken up or turned back on themselves.



Kate Libby

Westlake Girls High School Major: Product Development Supervisor: Dr Aruna Shekar

Social Media as a Consumer Research Method in Product


New Product Development (NPD) is an ever evolving business process that requires companies to quickly develop new,

quality products that meet customer requirements in order to remain competitive. The inclusion of consumers throughout the Product Development process ensures these consumer

needs are met. This research aims to provide a new framework and a set of principles to incorporate Social

Media as a key tool for consumer involvement in New Product Development projects.

The project started with a review of literature, with the aim of understanding potential benefits and risks

associated with Social Media use in NPD processes in businesses. Based on a combination of literature findings and primary research within NZ Small and

Medium Enterprises (SMEs), a conceptual framework is proposed that provides an actionable guide for

NZ SME’s on how they can utilise Social Media for consumer involvement throughout their New

Product Development process and improve business processes and success. This research

also identified best practices and provides recommendations on which Social Media


Andrew Lim

Penang Chung Ling High School Major: Product Development Supervisor: Dr Greg Frater, Industrial Sponsor: John Bell‚

Hawke’s Bay Development Manager

Uses for Peach Stones Waste

Large volumes of peach stones are currently going to waste from fruit processors such as Heinz Watties in Hawke’s Bay. The purpose of this project is to research possible uses for these peach stones. A Hawke’s Bay company and District Council are the initiators of this project. Peach stones could be turned into valuable products such as domestic fuels, culinary uses, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, activated carbon and pyrolysis chemicals. Potentially valuable products investigated in this project were domestic fuels, cosmetics and activated carbon. Peach stones are made of 50% lignin which is a wood tissue that has abundant energy for domestic fuel and could be turned into activated carbon for water and air filters. Peach kernel oil has good antioxidant properties and can be used as massage oil or ingredients for hand and face creams. Experimental research into the oil content of peach stones determines the yield and quality of peach stone oil available from the peach stone resource.




Brooke Norton


Major: Product Development Supervisor: A/Prof Johan Potgieter Industrial Sponsor: Pastoral Robotics

Development of a Low-cost Electric Motor

Engine dynamometers are devices used to measure the torque and power output of the motor under test. There are many ways to do this, with designs employing everything from simple friction brakes to a fine ferromagnetic powders for the application of a braking load. These devices are costly, with very few affordable options existing. This research aims to develop a low cost solution that employs an alternator as its variable load.



Nathan Palairet

Wellington College

Major: Product Development

Supervisors: Dr Aruna Shekar, A/Prof Jane Goodyer

Sustainable Product Development:

An Innovation Framework

Current process models for Sustainable Product Development (SPD) are too complicated for the limited resources of Small-to-Medium-sized

Enterprises (SMEs) and only consider the environmental and economic factors of sustainability. The final social pillar is left out, as is the initial design phase of the New Product Development (NPD) process. The

planning at this stage drives most of the overall impacts, making it vital for them to be considered and minimised here.

This new SPD framework was created from a review of the literature, supported with primary case study research. It

integrates with best-practice NPD models, and guides SMEs towards sustainability awareness. The framework begins with

Stakeholder Analysis, and they are continually interacted with throughout the iterative NPD process. Lifecycle Thinking is a

common theme throughout the framework, with three-stage EcoDesign and both Social Lifecycle and Environmental

Lifecycle tools used to drive sustainability. The framework is modelled as a continuous cycle with visual management

tools that quickly allow the triage of areas that need work. By integrating this new framework with their

NPD practice, SMEs can more easily develop products sustainably into the future, providing long term benefits

to the company, their stakeholders and society as a whole.




Neil Payne

Whangaparaoa College Major: Product Development Supervisor: Dr Frazer Noble

Wireless Cyclist Safety Alert System

Failure to give way and to identify cyclists have been identified as leading causes of cyclist incidents on New Zealand roads; therefore, the aim of this

research has been to investigate means of improving driver awareness of cyclists, and has looked at the use of a wireless beacon to transmit the

location of cyclists to drivers.

A literature review has been carried out; where, Bluetooth 4 (BLE) was identified as a suitable communication protocol; which, in conjunction with Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, could provide real- time information about cyclist location within a local proximity of a


The outcome of this research demonstrates that it is possible to transmit GPS coordinates using Bluetooth within a range of 100 to 150 m, with a refresh rate of 1 Hz. Our solution can be fitted to

a bicycle or used as a wearable device, and notify drivers of a cyclist’s presence via a smartphone app’.


Taylor Perry

Whangaparaoa College Major: Product Development Supervisors: Dr Frazer Noble,

A/Prof Johan Potgieter, Mr Steven Dirven Industrial Sponsor: REX Bionics

Pressure Relief

for REX Cuff Supports

REX Bionics is a leader in the field of robotic walking devices, being independently controlled, self-supporting, and hands-free. Even with the current lead on the market, REX Bionics aims to develop the REX further and further to create the best experience, for both health and lifestyle, for the end users. This brought about the purpose of my project, to develop a method of reducing pressures on the user support surfaces, focusing on the cuffs, which will enable an improved experience with enhanced health benefits for the user. A pressure detection technology will be used in the cuffs, with the potential of real time information processing to control an automated, alternating pressure support system. The success of this project will mean an overall improved product for REX Bionics, and as importantly, improvements to the lifestyles and health of the end-users of the REX.



Jonathan Sng

Kings College

Major: Product Development

Supervisors: Dr Aruna Shekar, A/Prof Jane Goodyer

Socially Orientated New Product

Development Framework for Developing Communities

New Product Development (NPD) processes used by international companies to develop products for developing countries have had low success rates.

Due to the traditional focus on developed countries and markets where there is high demand and consumers have high purchasing power; the

change of focus to developing countries and underdeveloped communities requires a user-centred approach to meet the highly constrained needs

and contrasting environments of these consumers. This means that the NPD processes used by many companies need to be better adapted for

this change. It is a critical area, considering the fact that developing countries represent more than 80% of the world population.

The project proposes a socially-orientated framework that will help companies effectively understand these markets to develop

appropriate products and services that address consumer’s needs. It is based on a comprehensive literature review and

primary research. It considers best practices in the field and identifies the key principles for appropriate design.

The framework takes into account the social, cultural, environmental and economic factors that are essential in


Alex Stuart

ACG Strathallan College Major: Product Development

Supervisors: Tom Robertson, Dr Mark Tunnicliffe Industrial Sponsor: OBO

Hand Injury Prevention in Lacrosse Goalies

Lacrosse is a team sport in which a small (hard) rubber ball is propelled up a field and into a goal by use of a crosse (a stick with a basket on the end). In this sport the goalies are required to save shots at goal reaching speeds of up to 150 km/h. This presents the hands open to large impact forces, more specifically the thumb.

Due to the frequency of thumb injuries seen: gloves in the market for goalkeepers see adequate protection in all areas with large, rigid and excessively padded thumbs – often leaving little or no flexibility.

Currently players are opting to forego the extra protection in favour of increased thumb flexibility.

This project conducted in partnership with local company OBO aims to research methods and mechanisms of hand protection to:

• Avoid catastrophic thumb injuries currently being seen

• Provide supreme thumb flexibility for the player




The body of a dragonfly looks like a helical structure wrapped with metal. Two wings are cross-placed on a body that displays a colour gradation from ice blue to maroon. This structure equips the dragonfly with supreme maneuverability. No matter at what speed or direction it is already moving, it can immediately stop and

The Dragonfly


Increasingly, modern industry relies on the solution of problems requiring a range of engineering skills.

Mechatronics is a combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronic control and computer technology for the design of products and processes.

Graduates in Mechatronics are sought after around the world and are found in a wide range of occupations including project management, industrial automation, product and process design and manufacturing.




Osamah Al-Bahadly

Freyberg High School Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Ralph Ball

Automated Kitchen Food Gripping System

Many fast food outlets and home cooks have problems with knife work in the kitchen, particularly slicing. A survey conducted by the US Consumer Products Safety Commission identified almost 330,000 knife related incidents were reported to the hospital in 2011, of which two-thirds of the injuries were to fingers. The solution to this is seen as a chopping board which includes a gripping device that can be used for all the common fruits and vegetables thus eliminating the need to have the fingers adjacent to the cutting edge. In arriving at the solution it was necessary to conduct research in the areas of: safe and hygienic fruit and vegetable handling and gripping methods; the requirements of the end user and the tactile sensing and associated signal processing techniques.


Yousef Al Monsef

Technical College at Dammam, Saudi Arabia Major: Mechatronics (BE-Honour)

Supervisors: Prof Subhas Chandra Mukhopadhyay

A Simulation Model Study of Using a Silica Aerogel as Insulation for Water Tanks

Every summer, most of the people living in the sizzling weather counties have to deal with hot water coming from the cold tap. The most popular water tanks in hot weather areas are made of multiple layers of high density polyethylene sandwiches with foam insulation layers made out of polyurethane (PUR). The purpose of this study is to improve energy efficiency by which the conducting of heat through water tank walls, ceiling, led and base can be retarded effectively. Silica aerogel has attracted great attention and been extensively used in different thermology fields. The heat transfer of a number of different insulation materials has been simulated using COMSOL Multiphysics.

The results showed that silica aerogel has the lowest heat gain in the system and accordingly the highest thermal resistance among all those common insulation materials which makes it a good choice in water storage tank insulation industry.




Jaafar Alnasser


Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Khalid Arif

Arsenic Detection in

Water Using Light Scattering

Arsenic (As) is a naturally available metalloid that is mainly used for strengthening alloys and doping compound for semiconductors; it is also one of the strongest poisons existing in water. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a maximum of 10 µg/l in drinking water. The lack of continuous testing causes Arsenic levels to rise drastically and affects the public health. In many cases, Arsenic is not easily detected, causing many reports to state “poisoning” as the main cause for several health disorders. This research investigates a method to detect Arsenic in water using coherent light scattering from nanoparticle assembled optical patterns. The work is expected to allow making of affordable and portable sensor which is able to detect safe limits of Arsenic in water in short time.



Mohammad Al Omar

Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Liqiong Tang

Motorised Marking Robot

A project was undertaken that involved the development of a motorised marking robot. The aim of the project was develop a control method robust enough to have the robot drive and

marking under control. The project work included the research of the problems, the completion of Project Proposals, and a

Project Charter, followed by the design and development of the software control system along with any additional mechanical,

electrical and electronic systems to perform the task required. Most of the mechanical design already developed

showed that the system design was reasonable to continue with. The Electrical specifications ensured that it was

possible to still add any extra components to the system if required, while still using the battery available to drive

it for a reasonable duration. The software development showed how flexible the system can be made to be,

easy control of peripherals such as the motor driver, and simple debugging.




Tomas Arlidge

Opunake High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Gourab Sen Gupta

Industrial Sponsor: Advanced Dairy Consultancy

Improvements in Liquid Flow Meters

Research is being conducted into potential cost-effective improvements in liquid flow meters, generalised for all liquids. However, it is

envisaged that the proposed flow measurement tool will be utilised by several specific industries, such as the dairy and oil industry.

Although there are many companies producing these meters in a highly competitive market, the high cost of the tool is still a

prominent issue. Consumers who need such meters for daily use find the cost to be prohibitive for measurement and data

collection. The flow measurement techniques being researched into are primarily ultrasonic. The advantages of ultrasonic

methods are that it is non-intrusive, allowing it to be used for various types of liquids.


Kanchana Batawala

Lyceum International School, Sri Lanka Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: Dr Khalid Arif

Micro-Stereolithography for Fabrication of Microfluidic Devices

Microfluidic devices have increasingly been used in the chemical and micro- biology industry to transport and mix small amounts of liquids. Among the many fabrication methods used to manufacture microfluidic devices Stereolithography is considered the best process. The process of curing UV curable resin through exposure to UV light is known as Stereolithography. This process is used worldwide as one of the best methods of 3D printing. A DMD chip was used to project a layer of an image onto the resin which is also known as the projection method. This method combined with the layer configuration process fabricates products with high resolution and accuracy. The main goal in this project is to find the best methods in fabricating optically clear, high resolution and cost effective microfluidic devices by setting up micro-stereolithography.



Ross Bennett

Rangitoto College Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: A/Prof Edmund Lai

Reducing Variability in Strength of Polyethylene Spin Welds

Rotary Friction Welding (RFW) is a technology currently used by Stallion Plastics; a New Zealand based rotational moulding company. Friction welding is used to attach cylindrical, threaded features onto a rotationally moulded product, which would otherwise be impossible to achieve by means of rotational moulding.

Currently the RFW process is poorly controlled; this leads to huge variation in both weld strength, and surface finish; and ultimately inconsistent product quality. As a New Zealand company expanding into a competitive European market, it is imperative that product quality is not compromised.

This project aims to reduce the variability in the friction welding process by developing a spin welding machine which will allow for tight control of process variables. Models for both weld strength, and weld variability as a function of process variables will be developed. These models will allow for the optimisation of the welding process, and ultimately give Stallion the technology they require to compete in the European market.


Nicholas Bryan

Taradale High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Donald Bailey

Eye Movement for Verbal Communication

Current options for eye tracking and text to speech requires the patient to sit in front of the screen and don’t allow for much head movement. This makes it difficult for patients to use if they struggle to sit still or move back into position. I created eye tracking in the form of glasses to implement into computer control, and allow more movement then current options of head tracking and eye tracking. The solution is cost and size efficient, and improves current options of external camera, the goal was to research and develop a solution for eye tracking and allow more movement, without calibration.




Melroy Castelino

Mount Roskill Grammar School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: Dr Khalid Arif, A/Prof Edmund Lai

Vision Only Collision Avoidance System for Micro UAV

Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a great tool that can help increase efficiency in a large number of fields such as search and rescue, 3d mapping and the agricultural industry. Some major online retailers (e.g.

Amazon and Ali Baba) are already looking at developing miniature aerial vehicles that are able to deliver packages to customers faster than traditional means. However a major drawback in the use of drones is their inability to avoid objects in the open world. Most of the UAVs used in the field today have limited active collision avoidance systems which restrict their use in the open environments. Conventional object avoidance systems such as laser and sonar are large and power hungry making them unfit for small and medium sized UAVs. This research looks at designing a simple vision based collision avoidance system for small drones so that they are able to fly independently in a controlled environment. This will provide the basic data needed to produce an active collision avoidance system that could work autonomously allowing drones to work safely in more dense and active environments without constant human intervention.



Abbie Curtis

Napier Girls High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: Prof John Bronlund, Dr Karl Dahm

Industrial Sponsor: Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE); Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) Packaging

Improved Packaging by Computer Aided Design

Corrugated fibreboard (CFB) packaging is used extensively in the shipping, distribution and storage of biological products. New Zealand exports more

than ten billion dollars’ worth of such products each year. An important characteristic of CFB packaging is its compressive strength; as boxes are

filled with product and stacked several layers high on pallets. Packaging used to ship fresh produce and perishables in particular often requires

ventilation holes to permit air-circulation. The addition of holes into the CFB structure reduces the strength of the CFB. The extent of

this reduction is the subject of this research project. The aim is to optimise the vent position or dimensions to minimise the reduction in

compressive strength for given hole constraints. Constraints such as: percentage surface area of the ventilation holes; shape of the

ventilation holes; and region of placement are applied to give bounds to the optimisation. Finite element analysis is performed

on a CFB model created in CAD software. This model is validated by conducting physical experimental trials; before being used to

optimise the ventilation holes for given constraints.




Shane de Rijk

Otumoetai College Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Huub Bakker

Industrial Sponsor: Multifid Technology

Adaptive Radio Network Between Mobile Vehicles

Multifid Technology manufactures a system for vehicles that provides obstacle detection via ultrasonic rangefinders,

especially important if they are being reversed in an area with other vehicles or people. They wish to extend the system to

allow networking of individual units so that multiple units will not interfere with each other by sending simultaneous

ultrasonic ‘chirps.’

The network will allow units to determine their positions in relation to each other and to synchronise range finding.

The network is established using a frequency-shifting radio module and integrates techniques from WiFi

and Bluetooth protocols to keep the amount of time required for radio communication as low as possible.

This allows the network to operate at the required speed. The timing for the network, the content of the

signals, and the arbitration for communication is also included.


William Haarhoff

Palmerston North Boys High Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Rory Flemmer Industrial Sponsor: Stallion Plastics

Reducing Variability in Strength of Polyethylene Spin Welds

Rotary Friction Welding (RFW) is a technology currently used by Stallion Plastics;

a New Zealand based rotational moulding company. Friction welding is used to attach cylindrical, threaded features onto a rotationally moulded product, which would otherwise be impossible to achieve by means of rotational moulding.

Currently the RFW process is poorly controlled; this leads to huge variation in both weld strength, and surface finish; and ultimately inconsistent product quality. As a New Zealand company expanding into a competitive European market, it is imperative that product quality is not compromised.

This project aims to reduce the variability in the friction welding process by developing a spin welding machine which will allow for tight control of process variables. Models for both weld strength, and weld variability as a function of process variables will be developed. These models will allow for the optimisation of the welding process, and ultimately give Stallion the technology they require to compete in the European market.



Fadi Hamed

Rongotai College

Major: Mechatronics (BE-Honour)

Supervisors: Dr Rashid Mohammad, Dr Frazer Noble

Smart E-mental

Health Tracking System

The aim for this project is to investigate and develop a home monitoring system to detect the level of emotional state of mentally ill patients

with clinical anxiety and give instant feedback result to their health care professional team and receive the appropriate immediate care



Ryan Harrison

Pompallier Catholic College Major: Mechatronics Supervisors: Dr Frazer Noble

Industrial Sponsor: Beca, Product Accelerator Group

Monitoring Rehabilitation Compliance using IMU sensors

The problem currently faced by medical practitioners and patients is that there is a lack of a singular, user-friendly technology that can be used for evaluating a patient’s rehabilitation compliance and progress. Because of this, resources, e.g. time and money, can be wasted since a successful outcome cannot be determined.

The aim of this research project was to develop a solution to the discussed problem; where, the project’s objectives were to perform a literature review of the current state of the field, develop a wearable measurement device, and carry out experiments using our developed technology.

Based on our literature review, we found that using a combination of three integrated inertial measurement units (IMU’s), (tri-axis accelerometer, tri-axis gyroscope and a tri-axis magnetometer, allows for less drift and higher accuracy, with a total of 9-degrees of freedom. Based on experiments, we were able to successfully measure the acceleration and orientation of a person’s limb, providing the necessary requirements for mapping rehabilitation outcomes. From our results were able to conclude that this method of monitoring results is a viable solution to the research’s original problem.




Ahmad Azra I Jamal

University Kuala Lumpur Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Moi-Tin Chew

Analysis of Plant Condition Using Image Processing

This research is to apply image processing method in analysing plant physical condition over a period of time. Plant condition is affected by a number of environmental factors such as soil moisture, air humidity, sunlight exposure, surrounding temperature and even diseases. Image processing is used to detect the changes in the plant, especially to analyse the colour and texture of the leaves during the observed period. The purpose of this research is to ensure that image processing is a viable method in assessing plant’s health and hence its application in greenhouses. In a bigger sense, the image processing can also be applied to the agricultural field to calculate the crop to weed ratio in a crop field, and to identify lacking of nutrients, water, sunlight and other factor that causes yield reduction in crops.



Jacques Janse Van Vuuren

Hamilton Boys High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Donald Bailey Industrial Sponsor: Richard Lloyd

Milk Powder Solubility Investigation Through Image Analysis

Recently, understanding the mechanisms of the dissolution of Instant Whole Milk Powder (IWMP) in cold water has

become a priority for Fonterra. The current method used for grading the quality of solubility of a powder is a manual

test conducted by a lab operator in which reconstituted powder is visually compared with a standard photographic

chart; the so-called, ‘slowly dissolving particle test’. This method is subjective and prone to operator variability.

This project aims to measure the solubility of IWMP through the use of image processing techniques and

an automated system for the purpose of providing a more comprehensive and reproducible result than the

current test.





Brendan Jones

Wanganui High School (WHS) Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Gourab Sen Gupta

Wrong Way Driving

Detection and Prevention

An investigation and analysis of methods for detecting wrong way driving. The need for this research arises

from the lack of in-vehicle systems that are capable of detecting and tracking the lane that a vehicle is traveling

in and determining if it is the correct lane. This project narrows down the feasible solution to on-board lane

detection systems that are installed on the vehicle itself. The proposed solution involved combining

multiple sensors in order to obtain a comprehensive, reliable and accurate lane detection system that

is capable of detecting wrong way driving and alerting the driver to take corrective actions. The

solution combined a vision system and GPS road map data collection system for accurate results.


Ju-Young (Daniel) Kim

Orewa College Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Khalid Arif

Efficient Mobile Robot Localisation with 1D Laser Scanner

Localisation in robotics is the process that involves with a prediction of robots position and update of position by observing an environment. Most localisation methods utilise sensors (e.g. a laser scanner) and techniques like the extended Kalman Filter to accurately find the robots pose. However, despite of implementing well-developed techniques, errors still can be accumulated for short and long run times.

The project aims to develop a localisation and correction method for accumulative errors and is expected to further reduce errors.



Andrew Kvalsvig

Hilton College Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: A/Prof Johan Potgieter, Dr Xiaowen Yuan Industrial Sponsor: REX Bionics

Development of a Carbon Fibre 3D Printer

Currently the production of carbon fibre parts is a difficult, time consuming and costly process. These costs make it unviable

for various companies to utilize the properties found in carbon fibres within their products. However, incorporating additive

manufacturing technology into the production of carbon fibre parts will change this. A 3D printer capable of producing carbon fibre

parts will allow more companies to produce their own carbon fibre parts in-house and, as a consequence, increase the viability

of carbon fibre as for companies around the world.

The aim of this research is to determine the necessary process and materials in order to develop a carbon fibre 3D printer.

The 3D printer must be able to take continuous carbon fibre yarn and a thermoset resin through a series of processes

to create a carbon fibre part. This research will focus on using the additive manufacturing technology known as

fused deposition modelling (FDM). The desired outcome of this research is to determine whether or not it is

feasible to research further into developing and building a carbon fibre 3D printer.


Jinuk Lee

Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Liqiong Tang

App-based Location and Vision System for Autonomous Robot

Autonomous robots are used in outdoor large open space where human beings and animals are scattered. A location and vision system are needed for such autonomous robots. When the systems are developed, users could collect the specific area information at any time through the location and vision system and via the communication module to send the data from the autonomous robot to user’s smart phone.

The location and vision system are built with GPS, Arduino and digital image camera. The GPS provide a location data. Based on this location information, a location system is developed to support more accurate position information the user wanted. The vision system can be built with digital image processing and then it will provide object identification so the camera automatically takes the image when the objects are appeared during the autonomous robot running. Those two systems will connecting and programming by Arduino since it can combine GPS and image system at the same time.




Dion Mansfield

Albany Senior High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: Dr Frazer Noble, A/Prof Johan Potgieter

3D Printing Pneumatic Muscle-Like Actuators

Pneumatic, muscle-like actuators, termed “Pneumatic Muscles”, are manufactured using proprietary, or hand-made, “boutique” methods. Currently there is no cost-effective, and consistent, method for making these actuators.

This research has investigated the feasibility of using additive manufacturing, e.g. 3D printing, to create pneumatic muscles. The following key areas have been investigated: 1) the printer technologies, 2) the materials, and 3) pneumatic muscle designs.

Having carried out a review of the current state of the technology, it was evident that processes, such as selective laser sintering (SLS), were not suitable in this instance;

therefore, fused deposition modelling (FDM) was selected. Subsequently, we have investigated the use of the UP! 3D printer; however, we identified a number of issues related to its ability to print flexible polymers, e.g. polyurethane. As such, a novel printer head was designed and manufactured to allow for printing of flexible polymers.

Outcomes of our research include a literature review, modified UP! printer head designs, print specifications, and a range of material samples. Our research has enabled the printing of a wide range of flexible polymers on the UP! 3D printer, enabling the 3D printing of muscle-like, pneumatic actuators.



Cameron Mearns

Rangitoto College Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Johan Potgieter Industrial Sponsor: Surgionix

Sleep Apnoea Treatment Solution

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder that describes a cessation of breathing for an extended period of time whilst sleeping. OSA is directly caused by the collapse of the upper

airway, which can be caused by a variety of factors.

It affects up to 9% of American males, and 3% of American females and up to 4% of New Zealand males. There are

a number of significant risk factors for OSA, including obesity, male gender, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Acute physiological stress caused by OSA can be a contributing factor to significant health issues, including:

cardiovascular complications, like hypertension, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac

ischemia, and cerebrovascular disease, as well as increased chance of stroke. It can also have a

significant reduction on the quality of life of the patient, and increased risk of car accidents.





Iain Mercer

Awatapu College Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Huub Bakker

Visual Basic for

Applications Front End

The Visual Basic 6 programming environment has been used as a rapid prototyping platform by the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology (SEAT) but Microsoft no longer

supports it. Many of its features are present in another Microsoft product, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) which continues to be supported. This project looked at

what would be required to reproduce the features and user experience of VB6 in VBA.

VBA was evaluated against the required functionality provided by VB6 and the differences documented.

At the core level VBA and VB6 were similar enough to continue with the project. Some essential

functionality was missing in VBA and would need extra software to provide it. For the user

experience, there were some minor syntax differences and the VBA interface was a scaled

down, simpler version of the VB6 environment.


Tessa Mills

Reporoa College Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: A/Prof Donald Bailey, Dr Giovanni Moretti

Investigating Virtual Reality Induced Simulator Sickness

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be used for a wide range of applications from entertainment through to simulating dangerous training situations and medical uses such as PTSD treatment.

Unfortunately, a large majority of users report feeling sick after using the devices, and this is the main reason that VR units are not currently available to the public.

If the factors which cause simulator sickness could be identified and either eliminated or reduced the headsets would become common place.

This project focuses on identifying some of the factors which cause simulator sickness, and provide recommendations to both hardware and software engineers.

The association of simulator sickness with the factors of game duration, field of view, and speed of movement within the game were tested in experimental trials.



Abdullah Mustafa


Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Frazer Noble

Investigating Gait Rehabilitation Training

There is currently a lack of technology related to the evaluation of gait rehabilitation techniques, e.g. treadmill-

based activities for post-chronic stroke patients’


This research investigates the effect of treadmill training on patients. A literature review has been carried out,

where information related to stroke rehabilitation and the current state of technology were reviewed. Based

on this review, a solution that uses Microsoft’s Kinect 3D camera and application specific software was

developed. This solution was able to successfully measure the joints of a treadmill user.

The outcome of this research is a real-time, quantitative measurement of the joints of patients

as they walk on a treadmill. The results can be used to form a measurement of rehabilitation effectiveness, as well as, patient progress.


Nur Muhammad Faiz Farhan Bin Nor Halim

MARA Junior Science College Tun Ghafar Baba Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: Ms Moi-Tin Chew

Equipment Tracking Using Wireless Network

Expensive and especially high-value portable equipment are huge assets in laboratories or workshops. In a busy area, it may be hard to keep track of these equipment and the locations where they are kept. At times it is necessary to know if these devices have been un- intentionally taken out of the room. This project focuses on identifying a system capable of tracking these equipment in real time and log the data accordingly. The tracking device should be fairly small as to not impede/

obstruct the usability of the equipment. Zigbee mesh network is chosen to investigate the efficacy of the system to track said equipment.




Ben Pedersen

Palmerston North Boys High Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: Ralph Ball, A/Prof Donald Bailey Industrial Sponsor: TenderTips

Reliability Analysis and Improvement of Asparagus Grader

This project is a study into the reliability of an Asparagus Grader, and the actions taken to elevate the machine to the desired standard of reliability. The grader operates in a harsh environment, and as such is exposed to a number of different failure inducing forces. The goal is to better understand the mechanisms which contribute to failure, and develop protection against them.



Sylvester Rong Wei Pian

Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Liqiong Tang

Real Time Life Sensing Module

Outdoor autonomous robots have been popular transportations for many applications in industry. However, the injury caused

by autonomous robot is still a concern for applications especially for robot patrolling in a complicated, lack of

light, wet, cold and hot, and very harsh environment with live bodies around. There are many active researches

in this area. This project focuses on developing a sensing module that acts as an anti-collision and life

sensing. This sensing module consists of a camera, distance sensing module, and an Arduino-based data

processing system.




Ahmad Haneef Radzi

College Mara Kuala Nerang, Malaysia Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Edmund Lai

Industrial Sponsor: Compac New Zealand Ltd

Multi-Camera Calibration Target Design

A new automated process for performing accurate multi-camera calibration for the company’s fruit sorting equipment is being developed.

The current camera calibration process involves using a small

“rugby ball” which is not ideal. This research aims at investigating alternative calibration targets/objects that allows optimal estimation

of calibration parameters. The calibration target is to be placed on the system’s rotating carrier which moves it through the vision

cabinet system for images to be captured. These images are used to estimate the camera parameters. A flexible adjustable target

has been designed and experiments show that it is effective for this calibration process.


Daniel Rowe

Feilding High School Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Liqiong Tang

Mobile Diagnosis Clinic

Telemedicine is a growing field in providing quality health care to remote patients. It is the future of healthcare where the patient can get the healthcare required without leaving the comfort of their home.

Current telemedicine products typically:

• Cost a lot of money

• Many require a healthcare worker to measure and enter vital signs

• Smart watches continuously record data with no method for transferring the data to the healthcare professional.

• Many lack a method of identifying the patient.

The aim of this research was to determine, with current technology, if is it possible to develop a system which accurately collects patient’s vital signs and address the issues listed above with the current products. This system then transfers information to a healthcare professional for review. The system is intended for:

• General diagnosis with the patients’ local GP

• Post operation check up

• Monitoring of patients with chronic diseases.




Fraser Sabine

Rangitoto College Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Johan Potgieter Industrial Sponsor: Surgionix

Flexible Polymer Viability as an Intramedullary Nail

Intramedullary nails are considered the gold standard of treatment in orthopaedic surgery regarding large bone fracture fixation. Although using intramedullary nails has many benefits over other methods of recovery there is still much improvement to be made to reduce patient trauma. Current materials and techniques used can cause a reduction in bone density over usage, potential removal surgery and leave a lack of surgical options. This study focuses on the viability of polymers as flexible intramedullary nails which will be set once in position.


Juan Schutte

Christian Brothers College Boksburg Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: A/Prof Johan Potgieter Industrial Sponsor: REX Bionics

The Relevance of FES Rehabilitation in Exoskeleton Technology

The following summarises the above titled project: The specific research area of the project can be defined as “The

Relevance of Functional Electrical Stimulation Rehabilitation in Lower Extremity Exoskeleton Technology”. The projects research centred on Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES, the use of electrical currents to form functional muscle contraction). Much research has already been conducted regarding FES treatment optimization, however there is a current deficiency in the amount of available research regarding the use of FES technology combined with Biofeedback and mechanical actuation technology. Where ‘Biofeedback’ relates to the use of sensors involving technology such as electromyography (EMG) and brain computer interface (BCI) as a form of feedback for system control and mechanical actuation relates to exoskeleton orientated machines. A major goal of this project will be the analysis and potential implementation of Biofeedback driven FES systems within a system incorporating mechanical actuation, namely the relevance of biofeedback controlled functional electrical stimulation within exoskeleton technology. To summarize the research goal of this project is the combination of FES, a control method (Biofeedback) and mechanical actuation.




John Marvin Sibal

Rosmini College Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Frazer Noble

Industrial Sponsor: Roofing Revolution and Tiles

An Investigation on the

Manufacturing and Properties of the Design of Foam Glass Roof Tiles

In this paper we proposed to investigate and evaluate the properties of recyclable foam glass roof tiles for the improvement of a current design by a team from Roofing Revolution and Tiles. The primary function for this project is to investigate the manufacturing process of a roof tile as well as to provide a roof tile with a series of properties such as watertightness and a locking mechanism that other roof tiles on the market do not have and to also analyse various different designs of the roof tile. Currently on the market there is little research done on foam glass roof tiles and further research is required before manufacturing can begin. Based on our literature review we have found a suitable method of manufacturing a roof tile therefore we looked at blow moulding techniques such as Injection blow moulding, extrusion blow moulding and injection stretch blow moulding. Based on our experiments were able to test out the watertightness and locking mechanisms of various different designs and therefore show the watertightness and locking mechanism of the roof tile.




Nathan Simpson

Te Puke High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: A/Prof Johan Potgieter, Dr Fakhrul Alam Industrial Sponsor: Novium Homes

Multi Technology Smart Home Gateway

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular domain with technologies available to reduce energy consumption

and time wastage. They are able to monitor and control the environment over a home automation network. There

are many different sensors and actuators available to chose from but the problem comes when choosing

a solution which is limited to a single protocol. This project is focused around the design of a gateway to

connect and use multiple home automation systems together whereby the home controller doesn’t require

hardware specific knowledge. The gateway has been interfaced with two different home automation

protocols with each technology connected to sensors and actuators. To demonstrate the feasibility of the system an input on one

technology has been mapped to an output on the other technology.




Matthew Sutherland

Palmerston North Boys High School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: A/Prof Donald Bailey, A/Prof Gourab Sen Gupta Industrial Sponsor: Colin Blackler

Infra-red Smoke Detection

An analysis of smoke detection techniques using infra- red light. Current standard smoke alarms have a number

of drawbacks and this research aims to determine the viability of a new method to overcome these problems.

Included are investigations into different types of designs and their viability. Selectivity was important to

reject false positives and methods to achieve this were also considered.



Juliahn Tennant

Freyberg High School Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Liqiong Tang Industrial Sponsor: Hospital

Mechatronic Surgery Assistant Device

The process of making a surgery plan involves study of patient history, analysis of symptoms, tool preparation, and testing etc., before the surgery will be performed adequately. This research is to develop a mechatronics device that is able to assist surgeons in recording special data for further study and analysis. A prototype model is designed and the testing done on the prototype validates the design concept and working principle. With further improvement the system can be a useful device for surgeons.




Pauline Theron

The Correspondence School Major: Mechatronics

Supervisors: Dr Phil Murray, Prof Ralph Sims Industrial Sponsor: DTA

NZDF Deployable Energy

When the NZDF deploys overseas to stabilise and rebuild countries, the lack of infrastructure means they have

to set up their own micro-grids. Shipping in fuel for for generators is labour intensive, expensive and

dangerous. One potential way of reducing this logistics burden is to implement hybrid and renewable energy

sources. HOMER is used in this project to model the viability of such sources.


Shaun Thompson

Palmerston North Boys High Major: Mechatronics

Supervisor: Prof Subhas Mukhopadhyay

Smart Sensor for Soil Moisture Profiling at a Distance

Efficient water use is prioritised in farming irrigations systems. This becomes especially apparent during summer time when water supplies can run low and restrictions are placed. There is an ever growing need to improve the resourcefulness of irrigation processes; technologies have been put in place to provide information to farmers on soil moisture content often through the use of probes placed in the ground. This project aims to conduct research into the development of a mobile non-intrusive smart sensor for soil moisture profiling.




Krystian Toms

Takapuna Grammar School Major: Mechatronics Supervisor: Dr Frazer Noble Industrial Sponsor: Beca

An NFC-based Patient Identification System

In the Healthcare industry, hard real-time systems are critical to consistently provide medical solutions to patients without error. The most important patient safety goal is to correctly identify a patient upon arrival, and throughout their medical care, irrespective of the environment. This project focuses on the use of a Near Field Communication (NFC) system to accurately identify a patient at any moment in time, using a passive-NFC tag and either a smartphone or stationary NFC reader. The use of NFC allows hospitals to easily integrate such a system with NFC-enabled smartphones, and a real-time database for patient management that is easily updateable. Electromagnetic interference is mitigated by the short-range of NFC being between 100-300mm, therefore requiring the tag and reader to be in close proximity to correctly function. The use of NFC tags for identifying patients results in a greatly diminished number of misidentification cases over currently available techniques, such as barcoding and conventional printed labels, and also provides room for future development.


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