Sak power award

Tuesday, 29 July, 2003

Before a gathering of 450 of their engineering peers, the Trans-Tasman Siemens Prize for Innovation was awarded to a duo from the University of Auckland on June 6.

Michael Nasa and Sam Siddawi won the prize from 25 competing universities for their innovative wireless power solution, which can be remotely programmed to glow in different colours, shifting traffic flows at peak times or signalling the way out of a tunnel in an emergency.

The project focused on utilising Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) technology to power road studs from a 24 V battery. IPT provides the means for safe, robust, flexible energy transfer with no physical connection between the supply and the road studs.

The technology will enable free flowing traffic during peak times thanks to the road studs which can now be controlled individually to be on or off and show different colours with various brightness levels.

In addition to the traffic flow concept, the wireless power solution could also be extended to such applications as powering Melbourne's trams. Co-inventor Michael Nasa said, "Solutions like this could mean the end of unsightly overhead power for trams in Melbourne. There are endless opportunities for the concept of wireless power."

Other state finalists vying for the prestigious Trans-Tasman prize included innovations like a portable braille to text translator with the potential to bridge the communications gap between the visually impaired and the seeing, a prediction technique to identify the onset of type-1 diabetes and a control system for the optimisation of Sunswift II, a solar car competing in the World Solar Challenge.

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