Lecturer of engineering Lorenzo Garcia has secured $200,000 of funding in the latest round of the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge to develop a proof-of-concept, novel, bio-inspired, underwater robot that can contribute to the conservation and monitoring of key species in our ocean environment.
Dr Garcia has an enormous passion for the oceans and the protection of ocean environments, and the combination of biology, design, and engineering for a fairer and more sustainable world. He says the ocean is facing various human-inflicted pressures while remaining under-sampled and under-monitored. “Unfortunately, current methods (such as research vessels and buoys) are prohibitively expensive for extensive surveying. Our project will build a robot capable of ocean monitoring and surveillance.”
The two-year project will see Dr Garcia working alongside iwi and the Department of Conservation. The proof-of-concept robot will be used to assist in the maintenance and restoration of the marine environment.
Dr Garcia is a BioDesign Engineer with a prior consolidated expertise in technology transfer and innovation management, his research is focused on the combination of Engineering Design with Biomechanics to develop medical and bio-inspired devices for trauma, orthopedic, sports, and rehabilitation medicine and their interfaces with other fields in health and nature.