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

 

‘Lab In A Pocket’ Alerts Young Minds To The World Around Them, By Making Scientific Inquiry Fun.

Researchers at the ABI have create a low cost, ‘lab in the pocket’ for schoolchildren, a technology to spark and nurture a scientifically inquiring mind, allowing them to take scientific measurements of the world around and within them such as the quality of the water they drink, the air that they breath, the pace of their beating hearts and more.

It’s called the Kiwrious kit, and was designed by Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara and his team at the Augmented Human Lab (AHL) at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), University of Auckland, in collaboration with Associate Professor Dawn Garbett from the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Kiwrious has been selected as one of the 15 qualifying teams to go through to the final round of the Velocity $100k Challenge, a student entrepreneurship competition administered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – teams develop a venture idea with the support of mentors and advisors and compete for a part of a $100,000 prize pool.

The kit is comprised of eight sensors, which school children can use to take real-world measurements using scientific parameters, such as air quality, ambient temperature, humidity, light level, sound level, the rate of their own heartbeat and more.

The students can then plug the sensors into a computer (Chromebook or any other laptop), and launch the Kiwrious Learning Platform on a Chrome browser. This learning platform focuses on encouraging students to make multiple observations, to represent findings in creative ways and share and discuss them with their peers.

“The Kiwrious kit aligns with curriculum goals, and offers students a fun and engaging learning experience that could transform their understanding of the world in which they live, and ignite scientific curiosity that they will carry through life,” says Dr Nanayakkara. “We hope that in the long run it will help inspire a generation of fearless problem solvers.”

Importantly, Kiwrious gives school children access to scientific tools that would, for many, be out of economic reach. It also allows them to use the kit spontaneously outside the class room, in their own time, when something about the world piques their interest.

The kit has been being trialled this year at five schools in Auckland; Panmure Bridge School, Epsom Girls Grammar, Mount Albert Grammar, Kings Primary and Kowhai Intermediate. Dr Nanayakarra and team introduced the kit to students with hands-on workshops, and have developed an online platform to go with it.

Dr Nanayakkara and his team of 15 joined the ABI in 2018. They have an overriding philosophy – to develop technologies that support and enhance our lives, which can be used in an intuitive and empathic way, to put more “humanity” into technologies.

They have created a number of devices aimed at making lives easier, including the Finger Reader, which allows the visually impaired to read text through a device they wear on their fingers, ChewIt, which users can put in their mouth and allows for discreet and hands-free interaction with a phone, computer, smartwatch and MussBits, which allows people with a hearing impairment to ‘feel’ the music.

“Kiwrious aims to help reduce the digital divide,” says Dr Nanayakkara. “Our work will have a direct impact on New Zealand's scientific future and our ability to develop the next generation of critical thinkers and innovators, ultimately leading to an impact on the nation's economic future.

“We hope it will equip them to take an interest in, and address some of the problems of the world in which we live.”

He hopes start a national pilot with Kiwrious kit with 30 schools from six cities starting in November 2020. As part of this, his team is offering training/workshops with teachers in November, to help them plan their teaching for 2021.

The initial development of Kiwrious was supported by a MBIE Curious Minds grant. Dr Nanayakkara, with his team, has set up a charitable foundation to take the project beyond initial research funding and create Kiwrious opportunities for every single children in New Zealand.

Interested schools can contact Kiwrious team via hello@kiwrious.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Auckland Transport: Successful Bridge Repair Opens Two Additional Lanes To Traffic

The opening of two additional lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge this morning will help relieve some motorway congestion for motorists heading home to the North Shore tonight. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics New Zealand: COVID-19 Sees Record 12.2 Percent Fall In New Zealand’s Economy

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said ... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Scientists Release ‘Blueprint’ To Save Critical Ecosystems And Stabilize The Earth’s Climate

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth's land. The report was published in Science Advances ... More>>

ALSO:

MPI: Independent Review Launched Into Assurances For Safe Transport Of Livestock By Sea

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has launched an independent review of the assurances it receives for the safe transport of livestock by sea. MPI Director-General Ray Smith says Mike Heron QC has been appointed to lead the review, which is expected ... More>>

ALSO:


Computers: New Zealand PC Market Grows Nearly 40% Due To Work From Home Demand

COVID-19 had large impacts on demand for PCs as businesses prepared for lockdowns by purchasing notebooks to mobilise their workforce. In the second quarter of 2020, New Zealand's Traditional PC market experienced a 39.7% year-on-year (YoY) growth ... More>>

ALSO:


University Of Auckland: Whale-Watching By Satellite – Follow Their Travels Online

Scientists have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six New Zealand southern right whales, or tohorā, and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. Part of a major research project involving the University of Auckland ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Kiwibank Admits System Failures And Agrees To Pay Customers $5.2 Million

Kiwibank has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commerce Commission after reporting that it failed to have in place robust home loan variation disclosure policies, procedures and systems. In a settlement dated 27 August 2020, Kiwibank admitted that ... More>>

Ministry of Health: Public Transport Distancing Requirements Relaxed

Physical distancing requirements on public transport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Health to determine whether they are still required at Alert Level 2 (or below). The Ministry’s assessment is that mandatory face covering and individuals tracking ... More>>

ALSO:

NZHIA: New Zealand Hemp Industry Set To Generate $2 Billion Per Annum And Create 20,000 Jobs

A new report says a fully enabled hemp industry could generate $2 billion in income for New Zealand by 2030, while also creating thousands of new jobs. Written by industry strategist Dr Nick Marsh, the report has prompted calls from the New Zealand Hemp ... More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: One In 14 Employed People Report High Risk Of Losing Jobs

About one in 14 workers say they expect to lose their job or business by mid-2021, Stats NZ said today. A survey of employed people in the June 2020 quarter showed 7 percent felt there was a high or almost certain chance of losing their job or business ... More>>

ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast: NZ Economy Doing Better Than Expected, But Challenges Remain

August lockdown estimated to have shaved 8% off NZ’s weekly GDP, and 0.5% off annual GDP Economy now expected to shrink 5% (year-on-year) by end of 2020 Unemployment rate now expected to peak at 7.2% The latest ASB Quarterly Economic Forecast is less ... More>>

ALSO: