Axle the Mechatronic Stage Prop Dog, designed by student Adam Gorrie of Kavanagh College, Dunedin, won the Senior Prize in the Transpower Neighbourhood Engineer Awards this year, while Waiuku Primary School students in Auckland took out the Junior Prize, with their innovative lifevest design.
The Transpower Neighbourhood Engineer Awards are run by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), and have been sponsored by Transpower since 2003. The aim of the programme is to create a greater awareness in schools of engineering as a profession, and encourage innovative thinking in the areas of engineering and technology.
Local engineers volunteer their services and assist the students with a broad range of activities associated with their projects.
The winning Senior entry by Adam Gorrie was built to add humour to a theatrical production directed by his uncle. Axle the Dog chases his tail and holds a scroll in his mouth as he moves across the stage. Adam was mentored in circuit design and programming by his Neighbourhood Engineer Peter Cowan of Delta Utility Services. The project doubled as his NCEA Level 3 Hard Materials assessment.
Andrew Needs, Transpower’s Maintenance Manager South Island Stations, attended the awards ceremony at Kavanagh College, and presented the school with the $2000 cheque for the award.
“I was extremely impressed by Adam’s project, and the innovation he showed in creating it. I was very pleased to be able to attend the awards ceremony and be part of such a great initiative,” Andrew said.
Engineer Georgina Taylor from Beca, worked with the students at Waiuku Primary School in Auckland. The students recognised the need for a trendy lifevest that people would be willing to wear whilst swimming at their local beaches. The students conducted research and tested different forms of flotation devices and gases that could be used in their product, and made a number of prototypes.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the students at Waiuku Primary School: The project team were enthusiastic and hard working. I was impressed with their level of research, product design and development. The students were able to work through the design problems and come up with a practical solution,” said Georgina.
Overall, 20 schools around the country received recognition in the awards.