We were thrilled to see Dave Lee awarded the Dean’s Prize for engineering at the University of Technology Sydney last month.


Dave has been exploring the idea of using sensors to help collect data on track conditions. The idea is to attach sensors to a wheelchair and gather data on how the chair moves along the track. The sensors determine the roughness of the track, the roll and pitch. With some smoothing of the data, it’s then possible to extract information on the track gradient and roughness.

Although just a small university project over a couple of months, Dave managed to make amazing progress in developing a platform to collect accurate data on bushwalking track conditions. The end product is a user-friendly app that collects the data while the user goes on their bushwalk.

Ultimately Dave would like to the app to be used broadly by wheelchair users around Australia and the world. There’s still a long way to go before that happens, including thinking on how to standardise data collection between different types of wheelchairs.

But as a starting point and ‘proof of concept’, Dave has done fantastically well. He was unanimously awarded the Dean’s Prize for pursuing such an innovative project. Well done!

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