Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


StretchSense excels at innovation awards

Media Release

The University of Auckland

21st  October 2013

StretchSense excels at innovation awards

An Auckland company that has developed wireless soft sensors for applications in healthcare, motion capture, and human-machine interactions has won two major innovation awards.

StretchSense  won both the ‘Innovation in Design and Engineering’ and ‘Emerging New Zealand Innovator’ awards at the New Zealand Innovation Awards in Auckland last night.

StretchSense  emerged from research done at the University of Auckland’s Biomimetics Laboratory  and is run day-to-day by two former students of the University’s Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) and is incubated at the Institute. 

“We use small, light soft sensors for measuring human body motion – linked to a Bluetooth sensor transmission circuit that can be used with an app for android phones”, says StretchSense CEO, Ben O’Brien.

“We can apply it to anything you can measure, because it is so precise and reliable,” he says. “For example, they can be used in rehabilitation applications for physiotherapists to track movement and a changing target over time – such as an improving knee injury.”

These sensors, made of polymers, can be sewn into clothing, (such as a pressure support wrap for a knee), and give real time results and personal information about improvements and exercising.

The company has developed the wireless soft sensors for applications in healthcare, motion capture, and human-machine interactions.

StretchSense has only been operating since late last year, had its first local sales in January this year and in March gained customers in the United States.  In September, Ben joined a New Zealand trade delegation to San Francisco for the week long NZ Health Innovation showcase – his first sales trip overseas for the company.

Ben set the company up with fellow researchers and co-founders; Dr Todd Gisby (CTO), Dr Tom MacKay, and his PhD supervisor and ABI Biomimetics research leader, Associate Professor Iain Anderson from Engineering Science (COO). 

“We’re very grateful to the ABI for incubating us,” says Ben.  This product comes out of the research we did in the Biomimetics Lab and Todd and I left our jobs to develop this and get it out to industry.”

Ben and Todd both have a background in mechatronics with a Bachelor of Mechatronics from the University’s Faculty of Engineering followed by PhD research in the ABI’s Biomimetics Lab.  Ben’s doctoral research was supported by a Bright Future Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship and in 2010 he was awarded a two-year Rutherford Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship.

Before StretchSense, Ben’s research focussed on artificial muscles called dielectric elastomer actuators (DEA) that when given an electric charge, change their shape.

Inspired by examples from nature, Ben realised that arrays of artificial muscle actuators could be made to interact in useful ways and without the need for cumbersome control software and hardware.

During his work he invented a novel way to combine actuation, sensing, and logic into one unit: the dielectric elastomer switch (DES). This breakthrough has opened the door to truly soft and intelligent machines.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Embrace Falling Home Affordability, Says NZIER

Despair over the inability to afford a house is misplaced and should be embraced as an opportunity to invest in more wealth-creating activity, says the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub. More>>

Productivity Commission: NZ Regulation Not Keeping Pace

New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. More>>

ALSO:

Callaghan Innovation: Investment To Help Deepen Innovation Reporting

Callaghan Innovation, the government’s high tech HQ for Kiwi business, is to help deepen New Zealand media coverage of the commercialisation of innovation through an arms-length partnership with independent business news service BusinessDesk. More>>

ALSO:

Tax Credits, Grants: Greens $1Bn R&D Plan

In the Party’s headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more innovative economy which has as its centrepiece an additional $1 billion of government investment in research and development (R&D) above current spend, including tax breaks for business. More>>

ALSO:

Inflation: CPI Increases 0.3 Percent In June Quarter

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent in the June 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows rises of 0.3 percent the March quarter and 0.1 percent in the December 2013 quarter. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Dairy Product Prices Drop To Lowest Since December 2012

Dairy product prices fell to the lowest level since December 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, paced by whole milk powder and anhydrous milk fat. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news