Sensors in the Environment

Summary of the workshop

The ‘Sensors in the Environment” workshop in Wellington on the 4th March was a great success. Over 80 attendees enjoyed a stimulating day of networking and discussion on new technologies designed to builder smarter city environments. Using a short presentation format, 27 presentations where given from representatives of NZ’s publicly funded research organisations, business and government, as well as five who had flown in from the UK.

NZ researchers from 13 research organisations attended, a third of the attendees were from Industry, as well as some local government. The British High Commissioner to NZ Jonathan Sinclair gave the Opening address, and the Wellington Mayor, Ceila Wade-Brown addressed the workshop in the afternoon.

KiwiNet, Callaghan Innovation and the British High Commission received a lot of positive feedback after the event, especially regarding the format, and the ample opportunity to network.

Callaghan Innovation

Sensors In The Environment Flyer

UK Science and Innovation Network


“The event was a great opportunity to hear from and meet people and organisations involved in all facets of the sector - academic research, manufacturing and supply, consultants, and local government clients. It furthered our understanding of the sector as a whole and connected us with other companies in a way that we are confident will lead to future collaboration and innovation.”- Matt Fordham, Evident

“I thought the event was brilliant. I made three valuable new connections.” – Kyle Nicol

It’s was an insightful workshop with extremely beneficial opportunities to establish new connections for collaboration”- Kriv Naicker Huawei Technologies (NZ) Co., Ltd.

“…it was a good event and I have enjoyed it.” - Subhas Mukhopadhyay,
Professor of Sensing Technology, Massey University

Below are links to many of the presentations given on the day.

Session 1

  • Matt Fordham, Evident Ltd
    Realising the value of sensors; matching technology with needs of people and organisations
  • Subhas Mukhopadhyay, Massey University
    Smart Sensing and Intelligent Systems
  • Richard Curtis, Opus Research
    A multi-disciplined approach to sensors and data capture
  • John Kennedy,GNS ScienceSensor system development at GNS Science: from materials science to industrial
  • Don Elder, Canterbury Seismic instruments
    Data acquisition challenges and solutions for multi-sensor environments
    Boon-Chong Seet, Auckland University of Technology
  • Sensor Networks for Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments

Session 2

  • Prof. Charles Walker, Auckland University of Technology
    A sense of Place
  • Ken Gratten UK
    Fibre optic and optical systems for the measurement of physical and chemical parameters
  • Paul Drummond, Trimble
    Trimble in New Zealand: Technology and applicable markets overview; Including a case study on structural monitoring system in the award winning new Trimble NZ office.
  • Winston Seah/Ramesh Rayudu, Victoria
    Connecting Things in the Internet
  • Andrew Slater, BUPA (NZ) Vigil Monitoring
    How sensors in the home (particularly the elderly in social housing) can support wellness/health outcomes and reduce social isolation
  • Jacqui Horswell ESR
    Biosensor-based diagnostics of environmental contamination

Session 3

  • Olga Korostynska, UK
    Real-time sensors for water quality monitoring
  • Adrian Dorrington, University of Waikato
    3D sensing with Time-of-Flight cameras.
  • Kelvin Hastie, Buildmedia
    From macro to micro data visualisation for Infrastructure, Environmental & Products
  • Adam Swanson , Callaghan Innovation
    The development of fibre Bragg grating humidity sensors
  • Ashton Partridge, Manufacturing Systems Ltd
    Polymer based Sensors and Solar Roofing

  • Jenny Rains/Haydn Read/Tim Packer Wellington City Council
    Wellington as a Living Lab

Session 4

  • Joe Ryan, VRgo Ltd, Bristol, UK:
    Wireless sensor modules

  • Kevin Wang, University of Auckland
    Wireless sensor networks for ambient monitoring and automation
  • Geoff Henshaw, Aeroqual Ltd:
    Next generation sensor technologies for monitoring urban air quality.
  • Ian Short, Institute for Sustainability UK
  • Roger Ford, Waiora Pacific:
    Takiwa3 Environmental Telemetry Management System
  • Julian Carver, LINZ
    Use of sensors in a spatial data infrastructures for smarter cities

Session 5

  • Andy Higgs: Digital Auckland
    Visualising urban data in 3-D
  • Ian Platt, Lincoln Agritech Ltd
    Time Domain Reflectometry Sensors for Monitoring Civil Structures
  • Kriv Naicker, Huawei Auckland
    The smart way to utilise a Governance Model in a Smart City sensor environment
  • Alex Mason, UK
    Sensors in Water, Environmental monitoring, Communications, Medical, and Energy.

Feedback form previous events

Networking Opportunities
Importance of Issues
Speakers Overall
Opportunities for Collaboration
Overall Benefit

UK Research and Business Representatives

Dr Alex Mason

Alex is a member of the Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute. The research spans a good number of topics, including civil engineering, facilities management, materials development and testing. His area of research considers the use of sensors in a broad range of areas, including:

  • Water monitoring (e.g. monitoring of water and waste water systems for contamination, examination of water pipelines for damage and leakage and underwater communication networks for sensor systems)
  • Environmental monitoring (e.g. analysis of transportation exhaust emissions as well as monitoring of CO2 free modes of transport such as cycling to help assist optimisation of cycle hire schemes)
  • Communications (e.g. development of wireless sensor networks which can be deployed rapidly with minimal set-up; applications have included facilities management, environmental monitoring, livestock monitoring and a broad range of asset tracking systems)
  • Medical (e.g. development of a range of sensors for monitoring vital signs as well as tracking movement of people, both of which could be utilised in emergency situations to better co-ordinate disaster response).
  • Energy systems (e.g. instrumentation of gasification/biogas systems as well as monitoring domestic level energy consumption for identification of performance improvements).

His research group also develops novel gasification and anaerobic digestion based systems and so Alex would be interested to try to establish links in respect of developing this area further.
Alex will talk about his work at the workshop

Dr Olga Korostynska

Olga is a Senior Lecturer in Advanced Sensor Technologies at the School of Built Environment of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). She has a BEng  and MSc  in Biomedical Engineering from  the National Technical University of Ukraine (KPI), PhD in Electronics and Computer Engineering from the University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland for developing a personal gamma-radiation sensor using thin/thick film technologies; and LLB from the University of Limerick, Ireland.  Before LJMU she was an engineer in the National Telecommunication Institute in Ukraine; then a Postdoctoral Researcher in the University of Limerick. She was a Lecturer in Physics in Dublin Institute of Technology before being awarded a EU Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in LJMU to develop an electromagnetic wave sensor systems operating at microwave frequencies for real-time water quality monitoring. She has over 10 years lecturing experience in Ireland and UK at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She has co-authored a book, 11 book chapters, 2 UK patents and over 200 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. She is also a member of the editorial board for two journals and a regular reviewer for more than 15 peer-reviewed international journals.

In 2012 Olga embarked on the “Water-Spotcheck” project to develop advanced real-time sensors for water quality monitoring. Water-Spotcheck resulted in new fundamental scientific knowledge, as well as a potentially commercially viable real-time water sensing platform. In New Zealand she will be looking at establishing links with industry who will be interested in pioneering the use of the electromagnetic sensing for real-time monitoring of water pollutants.

As a lecturer in a Master level course on Structural and Earthquake Engineering, Olga is also looking to establish a link with construction companies in designing and building earthquake resistant structures. Specific successful case studies would prove invaluable in planning of future sustainable infrastructure frameworks, where sensors would be incorporated into the buildings to monitor vibration, strain / stress, corrosion and other parameters that could be detrimental to the building structure performance.

Greenhouse gas emissions and the environment is also an area of research interest, in particular sensing of pollution gases, temperature, humidity, and establishing a link in the environment between the specific types of pollutants and their effect on nature.


Prof Ken Grattan

Professor Grattan graduated with a first in Physics and a PhD in Laser Physics from the Queen's University Belfast. In 1978, he became a Research Fellow at Imperial College and in 1983, joined City University as a Lecturer in Physics. He was appointed Professor of Measurement and Instrumentation and Head of the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering in 1991. Prior to August 2012, he was Conjoint Dean of the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Informatics.

His research interests lie in the use of fibre optic and optical systems for the measurement of a range of physical and chemical parameters. He obtained a DSc from City University in 1992 for his sensor work.

Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan is a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol UK. His academic background is within game design and has worked for video game publishers and development studios. His interest in real world games that use mobile technology lead to an artist residency with Blast Theory. He is now developing a consumer device called VRgo that will be primarily used for movement within virtual reality. His team are creating a custom made wireless sensor module and development platform so the device works seamlessly with the most popular game engines. He is interested in presenting his chair to both creative technologists and commercial parties that have an interest in new ways of hands free movement in VR.

Ian Short

The Institute for Sustainability is an independent charity established in 2009 to significantly accelerate the delivery of sustainable cities.  The Institute works with a diverse range of partners in the UK and internationally to deliver innovative demonstration projects focussed on systemic solutions for cities and neighbourhoods. We have a broad range of innovation projects that focus on sensing and management from the building level through neighbourhoods and districts and up to city level.

The Institute works both with the demand side, those looking to buy innovation, and the supply side, to help bring high impact ideas to market.

Ian is interested in forging links with organisations in New Zealand looking to deploy smart city innovation and with those with solutions for smart cities that could be applied in the UK. Outcomes include sharing of best practice research and case studies, access to the best UK innovators and demonstration opportunities in the UK.

Two projects are worth mentioning that cover many of the areas to be covered in the Wellington workshop. The first is called Smart, Sustainable Districts where the Institute for Sustainability is working with 11 of the highest aspiration district scale developments across Europe to help them deliver district scale exemplars in both smart and sustainable. The second is the Smart London Innovation Networks where we are working with large developers, utility companies and the Mayor’s office to source and co-develop best practice innovation in data capture, platforms, sharing, validation, analysis and modelling.

Organisations Ian would like to meet in New Zealand:
Continue dialogue with Christchurch City Council, Auckland City Council, New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Organisations to meet in New Zealand: Academic institutions, content makers and developers of new VR technologies, including Lincoln Agritech and other companies with an interest in sensors and sensor applications in the built environment; Massey University; other organizations. We seek collaborative, industry-focused R&D with both industries including SMEs and Universities seeking external funding