Chasing global break
A South Auckland engineering graduate is competing with the likes of Nike and Adidas to come up with a way to help babies fit their shoes better.
Sarah de Guzman, 22, has just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with honours from Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
The former McAuley High student is now developing a technology to be used in children’s shoes, which will alert parents on when the tots need new shoes and to identify potential podiatry problems.
She is part of a five-member team selected as a finalist for the coveted $100,000 prize C-Prize. They are working alongside the children’s shoe company Bobux.
Guzman explains that metal is woven into a fabric and is placed inside the shoes around the toes. At the back of the shoe will be a battery and Bluetooth device.
‘‘It will then sense the growth or any changes with the child’s foot and alert the parents via an app.’’
The shoes are being equipped to measure the size of the feet of children aged between nine and twenty-four months, who can’t explain how they feel.
‘‘We’re trying to bridge that gap by actually trying to feel for the children. From Bobux’s research, a lot of what they’ve seen is parents’ biggest pain is not knowing when to change the child’s shoe,’’ she says.
The focus of the design is to ‘‘not place your child’s foot in a box’’.
Bobux shoes usually retail for $45 and upwards.
‘‘It would definitely increase the price but we are looking into cheaper materials like stainless steel instead of silver. They do the same function,’’ Guzman says.
‘‘We’re trying to avoid electrocution by using a different sens- ing technique. travel.‘‘
Brands like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are working on similar technologies, she says.
The C-Prize is a technology competition run by Callaghan Innovation. Participants have to deliver technology-driven solutions actual industry problems.
As a finalist, her team has received $10,000 cash to develop a prototype. They also get access to several support programmes and workshops.
Of the ten finalists, only one winner will be awarded a $100,000 prize package on December 1. to It is safe for Early Childhood Education (BEd ECE), the Bachelor of Education Primary (BEd Primary) and the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching at the Manukau campus.
School of Education head Lyn Lewis says there are 40 places in each of the courses but if there is greater demand AUT will take more.
‘‘We will be responsive to all applicants who meet the entry requirements to our initial teacher education programmes,’’ she says.
‘‘We would hope in time, to provide around 30 to 60 teachers each year in the early childhood, primary and secondary sectors.’’
Kaye announced a $3 million funding boost.
‘‘This funding will expand the Auckland Beginner Teacher Project, and provide relocation grants for returning New Zealand trained teachers or overseas trained teachers,’’ she says.
Former McAuley High student Sarah de Guzman with a part of the prototype.