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Curtin academic recognised as one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers

Media release

Curtin University academic Dr Andrew Woods has been recognised as one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers for 2017, receiving the honour for his lead role in the development of the deep-water 3D imaging system that was used to survey two of Australia’s most well-known shipwrecks.

Dr Woods was named in the ‘Community’ category by Engineers Australia, and announced in their flagship publication create magazine. It recognises his key work on the detailed 3D surveys that collected images and data from the wrecks of HMAS Sydney (II) and the German Raider HSK Kormoran.

He heads Curtin University’s HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch), and was the technology lead on the 3D imaging survey conducted in 2015 as a collaboration between Curtin University, the WA Museum and DOF Subsea.

Dr Woods said it was privilege to be included in the Engineers Australia list.

“This project was of course a team effort and it’s important to acknowledge colleagues from Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum, DOF Subsea and many other groups who contributed towards the success of this project,” Dr Woods said.

“I’ve had an interest in 3D technologies since I was a teenager and have gravitated towards such topics throughout my engineering career. It has been thrilling to be able to apply so many technologies and techniques in the one massive project.”

The innovative project involved the design and development of a specialist deep-water lighting and camera system, and a surface control room. The team collected more than 500,000 images and 300 hours of high-definition video from the two wrecks located in 2500m of water, 200km west of Western Australia’s west coast.

Processing of the massive dataset is an ongoing task using high-tech systems at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and the Curtin HIVE. A range of outputs are being produced for cultural heritage exhibitions and projects by the WA Museum.

The data is also being used to provide new insight into the understanding of deep-water ecology and processes across a range of research disciplines.

Joining Dr Woods on the 2017 list of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers are two Curtin University alumni, also recognised for their excellence in the field of engineering.

Balconi Telecommunications Managing Director Con Michael was named in the Electronics and Communications category for his development of the Balconi Smart Torch, a hand held communications device for use in life-threatening situations in regional and remote areas.

Also making his mark in the mining, oil and gas category is Curtin alumnus Ahmad Fleyfel, recognised for his work in developing improved conveyor drive systems for the mining industry in his role at Conveyor Products & Solutions.