Wish we’d thought of that: it's better living everybody!

The 2016 round of the New Zealand Innovation Awards is open for entries so if you've got an amazing product, service or venture—or you know someone with a great idea who needs to be shoulder-tapped—now's the time to tell your story. And to get you thinking about entering—and to do as we always do and celebrate innovation of all stripes—we'll be showing our jealousy and regularly showcasing the best and/or wackiest ideas we come across. Next up, some of the more interesting ideas that could fit into the health and science category.

Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories of the 2016 Innovation Awards and tell your story by clicking here.

The LifePod

One of Sir Ray Avery’s many projects that truly does save lives. The LifePod, from his company Medicine Mondiale, is an incubator to solve all the issues with current incubators and their use in the hostile developing world environment. Essentially, it operates on its own: it purifies its own air and water and can run for ten years, saving up to 500 little lives for a fraction of the price of existing incubators.

One Visit Crown

Need a crown? Just pop down to the dentist. Once. Pre-made ceramic crowns, of different sizes, come with a finished top and uncured base to be placed on the patient’s tooth. When placed, the soft base forms an exact impression of the stump, which is then removed, trimmed and bonded in place. One visit halves the cost of a crown, which can be up to $1,500. The idea was thought up by Dr Adam Doudney and developed by Dr Simon McDonald at Tauranga dental technology.

SPARX

A team of researchers and clinicians at The University of Auckland have developed SPARX as an online self-help tool for young people who don’t seek traditional help for depression. By incorporating techniques usually used during therapy session into a fantasy game format, users learn new skills that will help them feel better, solve problems and enjoy life in the real world.

Health Bots

A large-scale robotics study between University of Auckland and a cluster of Korean companies have launched a study based around a group of robots at an Auckland retirement village. The robots have a range of skills such as recording residents’ heart rate or blood pressure, providing entertainment in the form of music videos, and reminding residents to take their medication and alert nurses if someone falls.

Titanium

A collaboration between the Universities of Waikato and Auckland, GNS Science, Callaghan Innovation and TiDA (previously Titanium Industry Development Association), has culminated in a research project to commercialise titanium production. The patented New Zealand-devised process is cleaner, more efficient, and results in a higher purity titanium powder than other methods from around the world.

A simplified explanation: the powder is heated and injection molded, rammed and extruded, and then 3D printed to produce solid titanium products. Titanium vapour can also be can be applied in a vacuum chamber to coat other products, such as titanium-coated drill bits.

Mirror box therapy

Phantom limb pain is a very real thing for amputees. An investigation undertaken by a team of Kiwi researchers has proven that an ingenious method that utilises mirrors can be used to alleviate phantom limb pain in amputees. The method requires an amputee to place their healthy limb on one side of a mirror box, and the other on the other side. The idea is that when one hand moves, the motor cortex on the opposite side of the brain becomes active.

The effect has been surrounded by debate in the scientific community, so the recent findings from the New Zealand team are promising.

  • Enter by Friday 29 July to win one of five double passes to the NZ Innovation Awards event. Entries close Friday 5th August 5pm. Enter here