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.

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