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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green forestry tool could revolutionise New Zealand's forestry sector...

Graduate Tim Cox's three in one ultrasound tool could revolutionise New Zealand's forestry sector...

An ultrasound tool set designed to quickly measure the commercial value of forests is one of three designs that gave Massey graduates or students the top placings in the annual James Dyson Awards for the second year running tonight.

In a repeat of last year’s event, all three finalists are graduates or final-year students of the industrial design degree offered by the College of Creative Arts at Wellington.

Graduate Tim Cox was named the overall winner of the competition open to final-year tertiary students studying design, technology or engineering, and to graduates in these areas who are in their first three years of work.

The 22-year-old industrial designer from Christchurch says his winning product design (pictured) could revolutionise New Zealand’s forestry sector. He says the industry uses old technology – including expensive products requiring many tools – to measure forest woodlots before felling.

“My product, Tretech, has been developed to eliminate double handling of data to reduce time, costs and human error. It consists of three tools – the handheld hammer anchors into a tree, an ultrasound transponder measures diameter, quality, density of the wood, and this transmits to a handheld receiver, which measures the height of the tree. The system incorporates other technology like GPS and a camera to record the tree’s location.”

Massey’s other two finalists were design graduates Jamaine Fraser, from Hamilton, who designed a hydration blanket to aid stranded whales, and Aucklander Dan McLaughlin, who created a product called Airaid, which can help people living with a respiratory disease.

Mr McLaughlin's nebuliser functions by using a foot pump that fills a chamber with air. The air is compressed and used to control the correct dose of medicine administered to a patient through an oxygen mask.

Mr Cox says while his product is still at concept stage, he would welcome the chance to commercialise the design.

As part of his prize, Mr Cox was named a British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador, and will travel to the United Kingdom with $3000 travelling expenses and accommodation and tour Dyson’s internationally renowned research, design and development plant.

Head judge David Lovegrove, who is product design representative from the Designers Institute of New Zealand, said all entries must reflect the Dyson philosophy; demonstrating a commitment to intelligent design thinking.

Fellow judge, Gareth Farry from British Council New Zealand, says of the 20 entries judged, the three short listed are examples of Kiwi ingenuity at its best.

“Each product addresses solutions for current social or economic issues that are topical in New Zealand; it’s great to know Kiwi culture will be reflected in these forward-thinking designs when the winner takes their design to showcase in Britain later this year,” he said.

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