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Innovation at MIT earns students recognition

Friday, 16 November 2007

Innovation at MIT earns students national recognition

The innovation of two Manukau Institute of Technology engineering students received high-level industry recognition by achieving Microchip Award 2007 prizes. This is the third-year running that MIT students have achieved this recognition since the inception of the awards in 2005.

Bachelor of Engineering students Jedy Shishbaradaran of Mission Bay and Andrew Lyon of Manurewa have won the awards for their projects.

The awards are granted by Microchip Technology Australia, a leading microcontroller and analogue semiconductor provider, and are reserved for tertiary engineering students who use Microchip products in their practical projects.
“There is nothing more a student could have asked for than being recognised and awarded for their efforts that have gone into making this research a success. It’s most definitely one of the greatest honours that I have achieved,” says Jedy, adding that his supervisor, John Leek, supported him throughout the project with his “invaluable knowledge about the world of electronics”.
Jedy worked on a “Free Space Optical Communication System” as his research project. Free space optics is a branch of telecommunication which uses light as its medium for transmitting and receiving data.

Due to its high security and high data rates it's widely regarded as the next generation of wireless communication. This research project aims towards the design and development of a compact portable system capable of transmitting audio/data in ambient light conditions. It is a proposed communication system for the Victoria University robot project in situations where radio frequency and other wireless technologies are not feasible.
Meanwhile, Andrew says that receiving the award will motivate him to extend himself in his studies. “Receiving an award sponsored by Microchip Technology, a recognised industry leader in embedded technologies, will certainly help with my long-term career plans in the field of embedded design.”
The original idea behind Andrew’s project – a datalogger for electronic scales – was to create a tool which could help service technicians diagnose faults in electronic scales and weighing platforms (such as truck scales). If, for example, a scale had been overloaded, a log of the scale's activity would provide a clear record of this.
Electronic scales output a relatively large amount of data – up to 20 readings per second. To be useful as a diagnostic tool, the datalogger had to be able to store at least one week's worth, or up to 250 megabytes of data. To achieve this, weight readings are extracted from the data output of an electronic scale, and then written to a Secure Digital Card by a Microchip PIC18 microcontroller, in a format that allows for easy analysis on any PC.
Winning the awards is a great achievement for both students, says MIT Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Bachelor of Engineering, programme director Neel Pandey. “The awards represent recognition from top industry experts.”

Jedy and Andrew each received A$1000 and a Microchip development tool.

MIT’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers a range of programmes in the fields of computer, electronic and electrical engineering, from certificate through to degree level.

About MIT

Manukau Institute of Technology is one New Zealand’s largest polytechnics. It offers more than 100 formal programmes at degree, diploma and certificate level and has a student population of around 32,000. Established in 1970 as the country’s first purpose built polytechnic, MIT delivers vocational education and training. With a workforce of 900, MIT is one of the biggest employers in the Counties Manukau region. Manukau City is New Zealand’s fastest growing metropolis.

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