Biomimicry earns Commercialisation Medal

09 May 2016
Iain Anderson
Associate Professor Iain Anderson receives his Vice-Chancellor's Commercialisation Medal from Minister of Science and Innovation, the Hon Stephen Joyce.

One of the founding members of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Associate Professor Iain Anderson, recently received an award for significant commercialisation of his research.

At the University of Auckland’s Celebrating Research Excellence Awards, Dr Anderson was one of two researchers who won the Vice-Chancellor’s Commercialisation Medal.

The Commercialisation Medal was awarded for Iain’s significant contribution over a period of time to commercialisation of research in its broadest sense, including commercial and societal contributions to the application of research to benefit the community.

Dr Anderson is the Group Leader for the Biomimetics Laboratory at ABI and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science. In 2000, Iain joined the staff of the Department of Engineering Science and was one of the founding members of ABI (which was founded in 2001).

His interest in artificial muscles led to the formation of the Biomimetics Laboratory in 2006, which is focused on looking to nature for engineering advances.

One of the lab’s principal areas has been the development of electronics for artificial muscles. His lab has developed soft and rubbery devices that can be made to change shape like real muscles, sense stretch and even generate electricity (unlike real muscles).

They can be manufactured into wearable sensors and devices that harvest energy from human motion.

The Commercialisation Medal recognised Dr Anderson’s work centred on his research and his role in turning it into products. In November 2012 Iain and two of his former students set out to commercialise the artificil muscle soft stretch sensor technology.

The company, StretchSense Ltd, makes stretchable capacitive sensors which are perfect for measuring human body motion.

StretchSense have also just released an energy harvesting kit based on research and prototype development from the Biomimetics Lab.

Iain's research and leadership also led to sales of equipment and research to Fortune 100 companies and research organisations around the world.

The laboratory continues to work closely with StretchSense, (where Iain is a Board Member and their Chief Scientist) and is now developing exciting new applications for commercialisation.

For media enquiries email Suzi Phillips, Media Advisor, ABI.