Faculty of Engineering

Technologies for Health: Research

The Technolologies for Health theme brings together a diverse range of researchers from various faculties to develop more practical technology that addresses both current and emerging needs. The following are the major focus areas of this theme.

Please email us if you have any further enquiries or wish to find out more about other skills that are not listed here.

Hardware and software design


We design and manufacture complex digital systems to support a range of technologies used in healthcare, including hardware, low level software, high level algorithms, low power and high performance devices.

Example projects:

Areas of expertise and contacts

Mobile medical technologies
Low Power/energy computing Morteza Biglari-Abhari
Design and development Enrico Haemmerle
Hearing aids Grant Searchfield
Implantable devices
Health IT systems
Integration of complex systems Robert Amor
Health IT systems Malcolm Pollock
Medical IT National Institute of Health Innovation
Signal processing, analysis and modelling
Speech and signal processing, audio watermarking Waleed Abdulla
Intelligent sensors and sensor networks Zoran SalcicKevin Wang
Signal analysis, pattern recognition Piotr Omenzetter
Signal analysis techniques Charles Unsworth
Complex control systems
Design of control systems Nitish Patel
Data and control integration Robert Amor
Animate technologies
Interactive autonomously animated systems  
Hospital efficiency improvements
Patient transit, roster optimisation Mike O'SullivanCameron Walker
Wireless power transfer for medical devices
Wireless power transfer

Patrick (Aiguo) Hu

Network componentry and systems
Design Sing Kiong Nguang
Safety critical, real-time systems
Embedded technology, remote surgery, safety critical processors Partha Roop
Embedded and real-time computing systems Zoran Salcic
Human-computer interfacing
Auditory, haptic, visual Claire Davies

Automation and robotics

We are developing automated devices that address healthcare issues, including physical manipulation and rehabilitation, cognitive assistance, and decision support.

Example projects:



Areas of expertise and contacts

Robotic assistants for clinicians, carers and patients
Robot design and construction Bruce MacDonaldPeter Xu
Speech generation Catherine Watson
Human-computer interfacing Claire Davies
Devices for physical manipulation and rehabilitation
Design and development Shane XieKC Aw
Rehabilitation and device design Claire DaviesYanxin Zhang
Wearable assistance devices Peter XuKC Aw
EEG brain interfacing Claire Davies
Robots for surgery
Design and development Shane Xie , Peter Xu
Smart surgical tools Peter Xu
Mobile phone-based interventions
Mobile phone-based interventions Robyn WhittakerClinical Trials Research Unit
Automated tube feeding system
Automated tube feeding system Enrico HaemmerleJohn Windsor, Anthony Phillips
Equipment for patient use at home
Human biometrics Waleed Abdulla
Advanced implants, in-body actuators and sensors, wearable devices
Wearable device design and construction

Kean Aw, Shane Xie

Wireless power transfer Patrick (Aiguo) Hu
Actuators and sensors Enrico HaemmerlePeter XuBryan Ruddy
Implantable devices  
Soft robotics and food robotics
Swallowing robots Peter Xu
Mastication robots Peter Xu
Optimisation of treatment

Sensing and measurement techniques

We are developing sensing and measurement techniques to detect and monitor trace gases, biological molecules, life function, and real time behaviour of biomolecules.

Example projects:


Areas of expertise and contacts

Monitoring of life function
Tissue characteristics (nanoindentation) Michelle Dickinson
Neonatal resusication Enrico Haemmerle
In vivo monitoring Frederique van Holsbeeck
Detection and measurement of biological molecules
Metabolic enzyme markers/assays Tony Hickey, Anthony Phillips
Intelligent sensors and sensor networks Zoran Salcic, Kevin Wang
Direct and label-free sensing with conducting polymers Jadranka Travas-Sejdic
Biomarkers in EEG Charles Unsworth
Devices based on enzymes, antibodies and nucleotides
Direct and label-free sensing Jadranka Travas-Sejdic
Sensor devices David Williams
Detection of gases
Sensor devices David Williams
Vehicle emissions with health impacts Robert Raine Seosamh Costello
Real-time behaviour of biomolecules
Spectroscopy Cather Simpson
Movement sensing
Movement sensing Poul Nielsen



Imaging work is being undertaken in a range of applications, including bone quality imaging using nanoindentation.



Areas of expertise and contacts

High resolution imaging
Tissue characteristics (nanoindentation) Michelle Dickinson
Skin, breast and cancer imaging Poul NiesenMartyn Nash
Body composition scanning
Soft tissue mechanics, skin, breast and cancer Martyn NashPoul Nielsen
Electrocardiographic imaging Martyn Nash
Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging Centre for Advanced MRI (including functional MRI)
Computerised tomography
Modelling Jari Kaipio
Real-time behaviour of biomolecules
Spectroscopy Cather Simpson
Conversion of images to 3D models
MRI for osteoarthristis Charles Unsworth
Markerless tracking Charles Unsworth
Airways John Cater
Functional 3D anatomically-based models  

Advanced materials

The university has specialist expertise in advanced composite materials, light metals, and plastics for medical use.

Our work includes research on new materials for prosthetics and implants, as well as developing smart polymers, biodegradable materials and processing methods for biomaterials.


Example projects:


Areas of expertise and contacts

Implantable materials
Improved bioactivity of titanium implants Mark JonesWei Gao
Biodegradable implants Michael Hodgson, Chris Seal
Biomaterials Mark Jones, Brent Young
Orthopaedic implant design  
Processing methods for biomaterials
Membrane technologies, extracting active compounds Darrell Patterson
Process design, simulation and control Brent Young
Improving drug solubility John ChenMohammed Farid
New composite materials
Development of new composite materials Debes Bhattacharyya
Manufacture of composites Piaras Kelly
Characterising materials Rainer Leonhardt
Polymer scaffold for cell growth Debes BhattacharyyaStoyko Fakirov
Conducing polymers Jadranka Travas-SejdicKC Aw
Smart polymers
Responsive to environment David Williams
Metal injection moulding Peng Cao
Microfabrication, lab on a chip Bryon Wright (Faculty of Science), Cather Simpson (Faculty of Science)


A particular strength of the university is human organ and structure modelling. This includes biomechanical, physical, functional and cognitive function modelling. Techniques used include computer, mathematical, biological and cell modelling systems.


Example projects:


Areas of expertise and contacts

See also the Auckland Bioengineering Institute for further information.

Major organs or regions
Heart disease David Long
Brain Charles Unsworth
Soft tissues, heart, skin, pelvic floor Martyn NashPoul Nielsen
Bones, joints and muscles
Musculoskeletal biomechanics, mechanobiology Ashvin Thambyah
Osteoarthritis Charles UnsworthAshvin Thambyah
Artificial muscle Iain Anderson
3D models Xun XuElwyn FirthAshvin Thambyah
Movement simulation and optimisation
Markerless tracking (e.g. for gait analysis) Charles Unsworth
Movement and ergonomics Claire Davies, Yanxin Zhang
Motor control of neuromuscular disorders Claire Davies
Blood flow Richard Clarke
Biofluid dynamics David Long
Hydrodynamics in microscopy Richard Clarke
Respiratory system and vocal tract
Vocal tract and larynx Catherine Watson
Pulmonary modelling Vinod Suresh
Airway flow John Cater
Cell modelling
Cell culture, cell signalling, biological transport Vinod Suresh
In vivo monitoring Frederique van Holsbeeck
Hospital procedures Cameron WalkerMichael O'Sullivan
Driver behaviour Doug Wilson
Prosthesis and implants
Design and assessment of failure Piaras Kelly

Technology evaluation and testing

Areas of expertise and contacts

Technology evaluation
Analytical laboratory for GLP and non-GLP testing AnQual
Medical device test bed NZ Assistive Technology Unit
Clinical trials
Clinical trails

Clinical Trials Research Unit