Online showcase: Engineering and computing students debut innovative projects

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

From a soft robot manta ray designed to explore the Great Barrier Reef without harming coral; to a prosthetic arm controlled by the mind; and a contender for the world’s fastest boat – The Art of Problem Solving 2020 exhibition showcases an impressive spread of engineering and computing projects from the University of Newcastle.

soft manta ray
Soft manta ray robot project

Held for the first time as a virtual showcase, the University of Newcastle online exhibition features 15 innovative projects by current and past final year and PhD students.

  • Mind-controlled prosthetic: Sam has designed a prosthetic hand that is controllable by the mind
  • Efficient copper processing: Sian has validated a more sustainable and efficient process for extracting valuable copper
  • Soft robot manta ray: Matheus has invented a soft manta ray robot to explore the Great Barrier Reef and collect valuable observations without harming fragile coral.
  • Through a robot’s eyes: Josephus is developing a real-time vision tool to see inside a robot’s mind.
  • Solving downstream erosion: By predicting flow rates, Rob’s research could help reduce erosion downstream from wiers.
  • 3D printed spine scaffold: Sam has developed a 3D printed scaffold to support the human spine while it heals from injury.
  • COVID safe respirator: Isaac, Nicholas and Phoebe designed a respirator to help protect healthcare professionals from COVID-19.
  • World’s fastest boat?: Adam joins the team behind the Spirit of Australia 2 – contender for the world’s fastest boat.
  • Personalised VR training: Andrew is developing virtual reality-based training systems that adapt to the user’s skill level.
  • Clean hydrogen energy: Ruvimbo has synthesised a unique metal composite to help produce cleaner, greener hydrogen energy.
  • Team rocket: Team NU Rocketry are building a rocket to compete in the Australian Universities Rocket Competition.
  • Biomass batteries: Taherah's aim is to convert biomass into advanced materials for use in batteries.
  • FIFA hopeful robots: Ysobel is programming NUBots – soccer playing robots – to compete in the RoboCup Championship.
  • Flood resistant future: By predicting future flooding, Chelsee and Harry are helping to design more resilient infrastructure.
  • Automated groundskeeping: Nathan and Brandon used Internet of Things technology to create an automated groundkeeper system.

The showcase will be viewable until 11 December via

The community is also invited to participate in a livestream event, Save the World in 60 Minutes, where researchers will discuss emerging renewable energy solutions.  Participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm ways to tackle climate change and compete for prizes. The event is on Wednesday 9 December at 5.30pm - 6.30pm and registration is free via Eventbrite.


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