News

Machine Vision Parking

We’re excited to announce that WaikatoLink and Parkable have partnered to develop next generation parking management tech using machine learning and computer vision on the edge. WaikatoLink is developing a computer vision model for processing video images, which will be integrated into Parkable’s existing car park management software to record occupancy.

What does that mean in practice? With vision software, you could implement a camera that senses the presence of vehicles, tracking how many parking spots are available in real time. 

This is a technological solution aimed at small and medium municipal and private car park owners, with the potential to dramatically change the price point for car park management. Instead of existing in-ground technology (e.g. parking sensors), the new system will process video data in real-time, monitor multiple parking bays at once, and run on several inexpensive computers, removing the need for high bandwidth, expensive servers and cloud processing. 

This technology is being developed by researchers from University of Waikato’s machine learning group, using world-leading methods and technologies that enable machine-vision and machine-learning algorithms to operate in real-time on low-cost ‘edge’ hardware.

For further information please contact Shlok Kant shlok@waikatolink.co.nz or Matt McMahon mmcmahon@waikatolink.co.nz

The Weka Workbench

The Weka Workbench

The Weka Workbench is among the most popular machine learning frameworks in the world. It was developed by computer scientists at the University of Waikato and is used by entry-level data scientists and large multinationals alike, in applications from business intelligence to robotics. It contains a collection of data pre-processing tools and machine learning algorithms wrapped up in an easy-to-use graphical interface.

Weka is a great example of commercial open source software. By choosing a commercial open source model, WaikatoLink has made the software freely available to non-commercial users while generating revenue from issuing paid licenses to commercial users. This revenue helps to support research and continues to improve the platform.

Find out more about Weka here: https://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/ml/weka/

SYP Automatic Fluid Sampler

Evironmental scientists and monitoring agencies analyse water samples to understand our climate, ecology, and the impact of industrialisation and human action on our environment. However, our understanding is limited by our ability to gather frequent and high-quality water samples, which are costly and time-consuming to collect.

The University of Waikato has developed the SYP Automatic Fluid Sampler, purpose-built for the requirements of field-active climate scientists, environmental researchers and water monitoring agencies. University researcher, Dr Adam Hartland, is using the device to build models that can better predict weather patterns and climate conditions. The device allows Adam and his team to conduct rigorous research in new, remote areas.

The prototype unit is in field testing and delivers:

  • Reliable collection and storage of up to 58 discrete, silicon-sealed samples
  • Up to 12 months of continuous operation using AA batteries
  • Gravity-fed or pumped sample collection
  • Concurrent data logging of temperature, pressure, humidity, full vial events
  • Easy transport by disassembly into two halves. Custom carry-bags available.
  • Easy set-up and configuration using an intuitive smartphone app
  • Highly programmable sampling schedules based on time or sensor data

The device will be ready for manufacture and sale in Q4 2020. For pre-orders and further information contact Doug Hillyer dhillyer@waikatolink.co.nz or Matt McMahon mmcmahon@waikatolink.co.nz

Solutions Lab & Bioactives Refinery project

Solutions Lab & Bioactives Refinery project

Congratulations to Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA), Te Awanui and Ligar on the launch of the Solutions Lab and Bioactives Refinery Project on 13 August 2020.

The Solutions Lab will focus on high-value horticulture and plant-based food opportunities and is part of FOMA’s vision to create a high-tech, innovation-based Māori economy and accelerate this by leveraging off the post-Covid recovery.

Te Awanui has largely funded the first Solutions Lab as it seeks to grow revenue through expanding and deepening the impact of horticultural activities, exploring new product ranges, and building capacity.

The Bioactives Refinery Project is a partnership between Te Awanui and the clean technology company Ligar. The project will target bioactive molecules, extracted from plants and refined using Ligar’s unique purification technology, which have commercial potential. The project has begun reviewing the bioactive content in the waste streams from avocado and kiwifruit production. Other plant species, such as hops, hemp seeds and seaweed, as well as native flora species, will be reviewed in the future.

Te Awanui and Ligar are actively seeking commercialisation partners.

WaikatoLink is proud to be an investor in Ligar.

Positively Pregnant app

In July 2020, the Prime Minister signalled more support for maternity mental health https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12351533. Jacinda Ardern pointed to the recent additional funding, announced by the Associate Minister of Health, which “includes $16 million in community maternity work, which will allow us to do things like a maternal mental health pilot and support programmes.”

One of the most challenging transitions in a person’s life is becoming a parent – this involves physical, psychological, social, economic and practical changes, which may become stressors. Researchers at the University of Waikato have created a framework of techniques based on positive psychology to manage these stressors. Lead researcher, Dr Carrie Barber, is a consultant psychologist, a Senior Lecturer in Clinical and Developmental Psychology and has 15 years’ experience in supporting new families during pregnancy and the transition to parenting. With her students, Dr Barber developed an app, available in the iOS and Android app stores, to translate this framework and trial it with New Zealand women.

This app provides a flexible range of tools and strategies to help parents think, plan and find the resources and strategies that work for them and their families. This is based on the CCCC model:

  • Challenges: helping parents identify their challenges
  • Choices: make choices that promote healthy development for themselves and their children
  • Control: focus on aspects of their lives they can control, accept and manage those aspects they cannot
  • Coping: developing personalised menu of adaptive coping strategies

WaikatoLink is currently developing an updated version of the app with improved visuals and are helping to deliver and promote it to the wider community. We’re looking for support from corporates, health groups, mental health organisations, primary care groups, midwives associations, district health boards, NGOs and any other interested groups, please contact Anna Henning ahenning@waikatolink.co.nz or Shlok Kant shlok@waikatolink.co.nz for more details.

Professor Bryony James appointed to the WaikatoLink Board

Professor James joined the WaikatoLink Board in April 2020. As the newly appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Waikato, Bryony leads the University’s strategic and research performance outcomes – improving research performance, increasing research funding and maximising the University’s benefit from the commercialisation of research.

Bryony gained a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Chemical and Materials Engineering from the University of Bath and later moved to the University of Auckland to complete a PhD in Materials Engineering. Bryony has a strong research background in materials science and engineering, and food engineering. Bryony is a Fellow of Engineering NZ, a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi, and a member of the Physical Sciences Investment Panel for Return on Science.

First Watch spin-out launched

First Watch, jointly owned by WaikatoLink and Combined Technology Ltd (CTEK), was launched late last year to protect industrial control networks from cyber attacks. Because these networks were not originally intended to be connected to the Internet, they have multiple entry points for hackers and, therefore, are susceptible to security breaches. Because some of these systems control critical infrastructure, like water systems and manufacturing plants, the effects of security breaches have the potential to be very serious. Researchers from the University of Waikato working with WaikatoLink built a cybersecurity software suite to address this problem.

The project received PreSeed funding from KiwiNet and investment from WaikatoLink and CTEK. Relationships built in Asia-Pacific helped First Watch secure seed round funding from among others SingTel Innov8 and NUS Singapore.

The Hamilton-based company has a team of 10, which is developing the product and securing pilots in dairy and critical infrastructure plants locally and in Asia-Pacific. The first commercial product is due to be launched in April 2021. The University of Waikato continues to provide R&D for First Watch, researching the next generation of the product.

Weka

Weka is a collection of machine learning algorithms for data mining tasks. It contains tools for data preparation, classification, regression, clustering, association rules mining, and visualization.

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