2021
STUDENT ENGINEER OF THE YEAR

An undergraduate engineering student or group of students who demonstrate outstanding design and innovation in their final year tertiary project.

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FINALISTS

FRANCIS POOKE

Novel Design for Tracheostomy – University of Canterbury

Francis Pooke, a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Canterbury, navigated medical device design challenges with exceptional ease developing an elegant solution and potentially life-saving device.

From car crashes to the battlefield, securing a viable airway after a major injury is critical to patient survival. Tracheostomies are the best choice for bypassing severely compromised airways to insert a breathing tube. But they’re rarely performed – because of the procedure's high complication rate.

Reinventing tracheostomies to significantly decrease complexity and risk could transform apprehensive doctors and paramedics into experts with minimal training. 

Francis Pooke has achieved this through innovative design, significant iteration, clinical consultation, and extensive testing, successfully delivering a highly simplified tracheostomy device and procedure. 

In a direct comparison with a standard clinical kit, the time to perform a tracheostomy was reduced by over 50%, enabled by a reduction in parts from 12 to 7 and an avoidance of successive insertion and removal of standard kit components. 

The scope of impact for this design is huge. A simpler, intuitive design will transform responders into confident and prepared experts, able to perform life-saving care without hesitation.

OMAR MUSTAFA

Milk Cooling – University of Auckland

Omar developed an innovative design for milk cooling technology. Backed up by comprehensive economic analysis, and a pilot trial – the result is an innovative, cost effective and energy-efficient design for milk cooling technology. 

Omar was involved in the design and assembly of a one-of-a-kind heat exchanger that uses water as a phase change material (PCM), dosed with a nucleating agent, stored in rectangular slabs. 

Omar demonstrated a staged approach to technical design development that was well-managed and responsive to an emergent real-world problem. His design is holistic, matching technical rigour with economic and financial assessment.

New Zealand’s dairy sector is a major contributor to the economy and farmers are the backbone to supporting the industry. The outcomes of this project provide a way for milk quality to be improved and compliant with the new regulations, while easing the burden on hard-working farmers and the electricity grid.