Innovative solutions from tomorrow's engineers

Mechanical Engineering student project from 2011 - the DiWheel

Mechanical Engineering student project from 2011 - the DiWheel
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Monday, 15 October 2012

From a flying submarine through to "wind turbines" for oceans and a novel tool for detecting improvised explosive devices - the University of Adelaide's final-year engineering students will be showcasing their innovations at two free exhibitions on 24-25 and 26 October.

Hundreds of schoolchildren, industry representatives and the general public will see the knowledge and skills of our next generation of engineers presented in a range of interactive projects and displays.

Professor John Beynon, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, said: "Engineering remains at the core of Australia's future prosperity and our graduates are in great demand for their problem-solving and analytical skills.

"These exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity to see some tremendously creative designs and ideas developed by these talented and hard-working young engineers.

"The projects are the culmination of the final year of their engineering degrees and we are particularly appreciative of the wide-ranging support and interest we receive from industry and government."

The exhibitions are:

  • MechExpo ‒ the School of Mechanical Engineering's 18th annual Honours project exhibition at the Adelaide Showgrounds, Goyder Pavilion, open to the public on Wednesday 24 October, 6-9pm and Thursday 25 October, 10am-4pm. This will be officially launched by the Honourable Tom Kenyon, Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills on Wednesday 24 October at 4.30pm. Further information at

  • The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering's 2012 Project Exhibition at the Atrium, Ground Floor, Ingkarni Wardli, North Terrace Campus on Friday 26 October at 10am-12.30pm. As well as undergraduate projects, this will include a display of postgraduate research. Further information at

MechExpo will also include a display of the finalists of the University's Sustainable Engineering Challenge for schools and the winner will be announced on Thursday at 1pm.

The Challenge aims to encourage schoolchildren involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects through a competition to design and build wind turbines for maximum energy production.

Projects include:

MechExpo (Adelaide Showgrounds, Wednesday 24 October, 6-9pm and Thursday 25 October, 10am-4pm)

  • Hexapod (six-legged) robot: The students have developed a six-legged robot prototype as a working model of a new robotic facility being developed at the University for dynamics testing.
  • Golf swing weight transfer analyser: A triangular platform for practising golf swings - a cost-effective tool to analyse the changing distribution of weight during the swing.
  • Marine turbine: The team has designed and built a marine current turbine prototype with different combinations of current channelling devices and blade designs to find improved performance.
  • Flying submarine: The students are designing and building a dual air, underwater vehicle prototype (a submersible aerial vehicle) capable of travel in both environments with a single propulsion system.
  • Leo the Ornithopter: The students have built a prototype remote-controlled ornithopter - an aircraft that flies with a bird-like action of flapping wings. This has potential applications for covert surveillance.

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Ingkarni Wardli, Friday 26 October, 10am-12.30pm).

  • Tool for detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs): This group of students are developing a novel technique of firing radar into the ground to remotely detect antennae, differentiating them from ordinary wire. Potential applications are detecting IEDs, such as those causing destruction in Afghanistan, or search and rescue.
  • Portable eye ultrasound: The students are working with a local company, Ellex, to develop a handheld device for diagnostic scanning of the human eye. This could prove valuable for medicine in remote areas or the developing world. The students have produced a working prototype.
  • Hardware models of the brain: This is an undergraduate project that has already produced significant research outcomes in computational neuroscience. The student is building digital circuit models that emulate neurons in the human brain. The circuit models are much faster than computer simulations and are expected to be a valuable tool for scientists seeking to understand how the brain works.


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The University of Adelaide
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