Dr Sadakat (Saad) Hussain – Scion Research
Growing New Zealand’s forest-based bioeconomy with packaging innovations
Dr Sadakat (Saad) Hussain is a Project Leader (Packaging and Biomaterials) at Scion. Originally from Canada, Saad has a PhD in Chemical Engineering, with a focus on the mechanics of materials. A highly motivated problem solver with a passion for applied science, he is embracing the opportunity to transform his cutting edge science into significant potential for driving business innovation and producing economic returns for New Zealand.
Currently, Saad is helping Scion grow the forest-based bioeconomy with a project to improve the lifetime of corrugated packaging in supply chains. Creep deformation is an issue for every box in the supply chain and it costs multiple industries billions of dollars. Food can be packaged in boxes for a long time – some fruit is stored for up to a year, and frozen food for up to two years. In that time, many boxes will fail. Based on this need, Saad has established a solid revenue stream at Scion for testing commercial packaging for international companies, helping to solve the creep problem. Scion's WHITE (Weight, Humidity Intervals, Temperature and Experimentation) Room testing facility is the largest independent box testing facility in the world.
Saad is also working on the mechanics of foam properties – how strong they are, and how they feel – with funding from the Biopolymer Network Ltd. He is developing alternative environmentally-friendly composite plastic packaging materials and actively engaging with business to understand and meet their needs. His world-first 'Stretched Foamed Film' using PLA (polylactic acid), an industrially compostable plastic, is a thin film material 100 microns or less (similar thickness to a sheet of paper). The innovation is expected to revolutionise food labelling and packaging, such as yoghurt cartons and soft drink bottles, as PLA foams that are thin films are currently not available. Saad is working on enhancing the mechanical properties of the Stretched Foamed Film. PLA is compostable and foamed making it light weight and much leaner. This is exceptionally important in a market that is focused on driving down weight and thus production and transport costs. The Stretched Foamed Film is also opaque, and can be directly printed on without the need for pre-colouring, saving even more money.
Dr Geoff Rodgers, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Canterbury – with mechanical seismic dampers
Dr Geoff Rodgers – with hip joint implants
Dr Geoff Rodgers – University of Canterbury
Seismic damping solutions for buildings and joint implant diagnostics
Dr Geoff Rodgers has a strong track record of working closely with industry to develop research outcomes with significant benefit to society. His research has applications in fields from seismic protection system for structures through to medical devices.
Geoff completed his PhD in seismic energy dissipation at the University of Canterbury in 2009, and then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in medical device development at the University of Otago. In 2012 he returned to the University of Canterbury to take up an academic role, and is now an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Mechanical seismic dampers he developed to dissipate kinetic energy of seismic waves penetrating a building structure are in use in a low-damage Hospital complex in Christchurch. He is also working on other devices and deployment opportunities locally and internationally.
Geoff is also developing a new method for early detection of wear and tear of hip joint implants that monitors the sound vibrations transmitted from a patient's hip replacement implants. The acoustic emission monitoring system is a non-invasive sensing technique that records low-level vibrations emitted from the implant during patient motion that make it through tissue to the skin's surface.
By listening to the ultrasonic vibrations of the implant, it is possible to relate them to the condition of the implant, to help Orthopaedic surgeons predict impending failures and manage revision surgery. Early detection of wear and tear may provide opportunities for proactive intervention, reducing the severity of surgery and providing improved patient outcomes
Geoff's approach to technical development, across a range of industry fields, is always pragmatic and realistic, with uptake by industry being a major goal.
Dr Daniel Xu – Spark 64 & University of Auckland
UVLens® Personal UV management and skin cancer prevention tool
Dr Daniel Xu is on his way to becoming a highly recognised New Zealand innovator and entrepreneur, with his excellent research capability combined with strong business acumen. He is the inventor of a number of patents that have been licensed to StretchSense Limited, a company formed out of the Biometrics lab at University of Auckland, and is the co-founder and CEO of technology companies UVLens® and Spark 64 Ltd.
Daniel completed his PhD in Bio-Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Auckland in 2015, and is an Honorary Academic in University of Auckland's Bioengineering Institute.
While still studying for his PhD Daniel co-founded UVLens® in 2013 after his team won the National Finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. UVLens® provides digital information and tools to teach people about UV and sun safety. The solution is being developed by the team at Spark 64, an R&D company combining the fields of sensor technology, software applications and cloud computing.
Globally, 3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. UVLens® aims to make a difference starting from New Zealand, a country with one of the highest incidence rates, to address the long standing problem of over exposure to UV causing skin cancers.
The first release of UVLens® was designed specifically for pre-schools and other early childhood education centres. It provides engaging tools to educate young children and to instil sun smart behaviours early. It also provides teachers and parents with real time UV information, alerts and recommendations to help them keep the children safe as they enjoy their time in the sun. The UVLens® Weather Kit contains sensors and software to measure the local UV, temperature, rainfall, and more at a site. The technology integrates into mobile apps, websites, email and social media, making it truly scalable across the world.
In a partnership with Banana Boat sunscreen, over 100 UV sensors were installed around the country in 2014 to protect preschool children from the sun. The technology is also being used in the education, suncare and health insurance space.
Daniel was awarded the AMP National Scholarship in 2015 as one of 10 people doing great things in New Zealand. He has also attended the Stanford ignite programme in 2016.