Velocity success for Faculty of Engineering researchers

02 June 2017

Two teams led by Civil and Environmental Engineering lecturers, and one from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have encountered success at the recent Velocity Innovation Challenge.

Dr Wei-Qin Zhuang’s team – comprising Dr Kevin Wang from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Part IV Civil Engineering students Oliver Brooks, Don Wu and Haydn O’Brien – was awarded one of the five UniServices Research prizes.

Their submission, the STOPTM system, sometimes referred to as the “smart sewer”, is designed to overcome the shortcomings of the current sewer networks by providing insight and data profiling that is currently not possible with conventional methods. Their solution ultimately aims to improve the wastewater transportation and treatment process.

Associate Professor Charles Clifton’s team was presented with a Faculty of Engineering prize for their novel seismic resistant device for the base of shelving posts. The team includes fellow Civil and Environmental Engineering lecturer Dr James Lim, Associate Professor Lip Teh from the University of Wollongong, and PhD candidates Zhenghao Tang and James Maguire.

They consider their Friction Slipper baseplate to be a remarkable revolution in enhancing the seismic resilience of pallet racking system. With goods often stored on the light steel-framed structures, the team’s technology can potentially contribute to the overall economy of regions that are prone to severe earthquakes.

A Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering team is amongst the other UniServices winners. The ‘Diabetes Screening App’ was submitted by Associated Professor Waleed Abdulla and his PhD candidate, Renoh Johnson Chalakkal.

Their research aims to develop an automatic system to diagnose the presence of early stage retinopathy using retinal images, which can be photographed with a portable lens attached to a smartphone. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common microvascular disease caused by diabetes, and a very prominent cause for preventable blindness across the globe. The team’s solution to this problem is significant, with over a third of the 422 million diabetes patients worldwide showing signs of DR.

The Velocity Innovation Challenge is one of the major annual initiatives offered by Velocity, the University’s entrepreneurial development. It boasts a total prize pool of over $40,000, and is aimed at encouraging our staff and students to test the feasibility of commercialising their research as a social or commercial venture. The 1,000 word submissions are judged by industry experts.