DORM ROOM INNOVATION
I watched Zach Preston (centre) and his University of Auckland engineering colleagues Zac Lochhead (left) and Sam Yoon pitch Sentinel to a high-powered panel of judges at the Imagine Cup, an international competition hosted by Microsoft at its Seattle headquarters that sees teams of students from around the world compete for a prize package worth more than $150,000.
The team did New Zealand proud, Zach confidently handling technical questions and outlining Sentinel’s business plan. Ultimately, Sentinel went as far as the quarter-finals of the Imagine Cup.
But interest in the fledgling startup is keen and the team plans to commercialize Sentinel after more trialing of the technology. That’s good news because the long-term climate picture for New Zealand and the world is concerning. UK and Dutch scientists using statistical modeling of climate data in August concluded the world could expect anomalously warm
conditions to at least 2022, with a greater chance of extreme temperatures.
“As the climate warms, getting extra-warm years will translate to a much greater occurrence of extreme heat, dryness, and a greater chance of wildfires, as we are seeing in the northern hemisphere summer this year,” says Victoria University climate scientist professor James Renwick.
“If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century.”
In other words, the country needs to plan much more carefully to meet water needs. A group of young New Zealand innovators are on the way to helping do just that.
‘If the warming trend caused by greenhouse gas emissions continues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the century’