IRL research engineer Marcus King has been named the 2011 New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards Engineering Innovator of the Year for his work in developing rehabilitation technologies.
King's recent research and development in the field of assistive technologies focuses on the use of information technology during rehabilitation following neurological injury or disease.
A key aim of his work is to create technologies that improve the quality of life of this group and reduce the costs of healthcare.
Through an ongoing collaborative research programme that has evolved to consider different types of disability, a suite of three-stroke rehabilitation devices has been created, patented and licensed to a commercial company.
These devices allow people with varying levels of impairment to carry out upper limb exercises using computer games designed to provide a structured home-based rehabilitation programme. The computer monitors progress and allow remote adjustment of settings.
King’s other patents include the Able-X bilateral exerciser, with virtual rehabilitation; the Giant Mouse gravity supported exerciser; the BUiLT bilateral upper limb exerciser; the wrist-driven grip orthosis, which restores pinch grip capacity without invasive surgery; and the handheld dynamometer for measuring strength and range of motion during rehabilitation.
Judges said the breadth and applicability of King's innovations was particularly commendable.
He previously received the Rutherford Bronze Medal for Science and Technology and the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Cooper Medal for research in physics and engineering.
Endace founder Dr Ian Graham was endowed with the Entrepreneur of the Year prize.
Judges said Endace's open networking monitoring and recording systems were regarded as fundamental to the security and operation of countless organisations around the globe, including major stock exchanges, international banks and governmental security agencies.
Endace is celebrating its 10-year anniversary and has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most highly valued international tech success stories – winning High Tech Company of the Year, Exporter of the Year and Emerging Company of the Year awards in recent years – with revenues in excess of US$38 million in the fiscal year 2011.
The Young Engineer of the Year was senior engineering geologist at Aurecon, Camilla Gibbons.