Dr Nicholas Pau has been named as one of three finalists at the prestigious Bluetooth Innovation World Cup 2010 Dr Nicholas Pau has been named as one of three finalists at the prestigious Bluetooth Innovation World Cup 2010 CREDIT: University of Canterbury

Commercial value of University innovation recognised internationally

Thursday 27 January 2011, 9:52AM
By University of Canterbury


University of Canterbury (UC) researcher Dr Nicholas Pau has been named as one of three finalists at the prestigious Bluetooth Innovation World Cup 2010 with a proposed device called “Refill Alert”.

The device would alert people when they needed to refill their LPG bottle or when their bottle has a leak by sending a message to their mobile phone or laptop, to a message centre in a smart-home or direct to the supplier when a minimum amount of gas is left in their gas bottle.

In addition to the idea itself, the design of the monitor would be innovative because it needs to operate safely in the proximity of a combustible device where high power signal transmission would not be possible.

The finalists in the annual global competition were chosen from 270 submitted innovations from around the world by an international panel of Bluetooth technology experts. In December 2010, Refill Alert was named the winner in the “Home Automation” category. The overall winner, who will be announced next month, will be named Bluetooth Innovator of the Year and receive prizes valued at USD $50,000.

The competition was established in 2009 and attracts entries from developers, entrepreneurs and students who submit ideas for products that use Bluetooth low energy technology.

The 2010 competition was searching for products in the areas of home automation, health care and sports & fitness.

Dr Pau’s innovation, which won the home innovation section of the competition, would remove the need for householders to physically monitor their own gas supply – so no more cold and wet trips out to the gas bottles as a result of an unexpected cold shower, or frustrations when the gas suddenly runs out and you’re about to start cooking dinner!

Dr Pau is a research engineer at the Wireless Research Centre (WRC) located at NZi3 – the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute based at the University of Canterbury. NZi3 is a ‘hothouse’ of strategic ICT research supported by its Founding Partners - Hewlett Packard NZ, IBM, Jade Software, Tait Electronics and the University of Canterbury - and its Platinum Partner Microsoft NZ. The Wireless Research Centre is a multi-year, multi-million dollar association between UC and Tait Electronics, one of New Zealand’s foremost high-value ICT exporters.

WRC Director, Fred Samandari, is thrilled by Dr Pau’s success. “This is a wonderful success for Dr Pau, the Wireless Research Centre and NZi3. As one of the three finalists from each of the three competition categories, our concept was presented in November in Germany at electronica 2010, the world’s largest trade fair for components, systems and applications. According to the statistics, 2595 companies participated at that event and approximately 70,000 participants had an opportunity to get introduced to our proposal.”

UC Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr added his congratulations to the innovators behind the proposed product. “This is a great example of wireless innovation being applied to solve a real problem or issue in New Zealanders’ lives and which has global application and the prospect of commercial value.
“I’m delighted to see the innovative research activities being undertaken at NZi3 and the Wireless Research Centre enjoying such global success. At a time when Universities are being challenged to show the relevance and commercial opportunities arising from their research and to demonstrate increased collaboration with industry, such international recognition is important validation.”

Meanwhile Dr Pau has already been in contact with the Research and Innovation team at UC to explore ways to promote and commercialise his innovative new product.

The overall winner of the Bluetooth Innovation World Cup 2010 will be announced at an award ceremony in Munich on Feb 7 at ISPO’11.

Please click on the link below for more information about the Bluetooth Innovation World Cup: