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Massey team wins Engineers Without Borders challenge

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Massey team wins Engineers Without Borders challenge

A team of Massey University engineering students has won the top award in this year’s Engineers Without Borders New Zealand University Challenge.

David Mountain and Akshay Kumar, from Massey’s Albany campus, beat teams from Massey’s Manawatu campus, Canterbury and AUT Universities in last night’s final in Auckland.

The competition for first-year university students uses a team-based design approach focused on community-based sustainable development projects. This year, teams were asked to meet some of the engineering challenges faced by communities in Timor Leste.

The Albany team focused on the problem of housing design in the town of Codo, in the Lautem District of Timor Leste, which is susceptible to extreme weather. They designed a long-lasting roofing system that is easy to construct and resistant to high winds, heavy rain and possible earthquakes. To do this, they employed materials easily found nearby to design a bamboo and used tyre roof that can stand up to the elements better than other designs. It is also cheaply made and easily installed.

The team from the Manawatū campus, comprising Matthew Bridle, Nathan Hickey and Samuel Nepia, looked at the issue of water supply and quality in the same town. The team designed a water cart and a chlorination agent to remedy these issues. The cart was of a robust design to suit the rough landscape around the village, while chlorination provides a quick way for the water to be cleaned, ready for drinking and cooking.

School of Engineering and Advanced Technology Professor of Product Development Allan Anderson says it is a “great achievement for Massey and a credit to all the students involved and to the course coordinators, supervisors and mentors on both campuses”.

He says the challenge gives first-year students the opportunity to solve real-world problems. "Project-based learning is key to what we do at Massey and this particular challenge makes the teams work together to come up with solutions that will actually make a difference. The Engineers Without Borders project is especially beneficial as it encourages the students to consider the cultural, social, environmental and economic impact of their engineering solution.”

The winning team will go on to represent New Zealand at the Australian challenge finals in Melbourne in December.


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