ABI team qualifies for the final stage of $100k Velocity Challenge

24 August 2017
See caption.
Amir and his team members with their awards for MicroVision® at the Velocity $100K Qualifiers Ceremony. Pictured are (from left to right) Maria Jose-Alvarez, Amir Haji Rassouliha, and Edward Talbot.

Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) extends its congratulations to Amir Haji Rassouliha and team for qualifying for the final stage of the Velocity $100K challenge. The Velocity $100k Challenge is New Zealand's premier business planning competition by Velocity, the country’s leading entrepreneurial development programme based at the University of Auckland’s School of Business. The competition provides an opportunity for staff and students from any discipline at the university to transform their ideas into a real business. It involves two stages: participants submit a venture summary (mini-business plan) at stage 1, and from this pool of submissions, 10 to 15 finalist teams are selected for stage 2, which is the final stage of the competition.

Working together with his team members (Emily Lam Po Tang, who is also a PhD student at ABI, Maria-Jose Alvarez, and Edward Talbot) and his PhD supervisors (Professor Poul Nielsen, Professor Martyn Nash, and Associate Professor Andrew Taberner), Amir recently wrote a 10-page venture summary (mini-business plan) which he submitted for stage 1 of the competition. 

The centrepiece of the venture summary is MicroVision®, a camera-based system that analyses the impact of forces on the behaviour of mechanical structures with incredible accuracy (i.e. to a tiny fraction of a pixel) using the technology that has been developed during Amir’s PhD at ABI. The invaluable data obtained using this system can be used to create better, longer-lasting, and better performing structures. Possible industrial applications of this technology include testing and maintenance of heavy machinery such as cranes and wind turbines. Besides that, this technology also has potential applications in other fields. It was initially developed to measure 3D deformations of soft tissues, such as the skin of the neck. This was to analyse abnormalities in the pulsation of the carotid artery that could assist in detecting heart failure.

Following participation in stage 1 of the competition, Amir’s team has been selected for the next and final stage of the competition. The final stage of the competition entails intensive training, mentoring and involvement in workshops over the course of seven weeks. Throughout this period, teams will develop a 20-page business plan that they will pitch to a panel of judges at a dragon’s den-style presentation session to compete for the final prizes.

This presentation session will take place in two months’ time; ABI wishes Amir and team all the very best!