Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechatronics Engineering
Systems Engineer, Dynamic Controls, Christchurch
Driving powered wheelchairs and electric scooters down mountain bike tracks to test traction is something he may not have seen himself doing when choosing Engineering as a career, but it certainly is one of the things Brian enjoys most about his job.
‘As a member of the Systems Architecture team at Dynamic Controls, I’m responsible for the design of new algorithms and communication protocols which are getting implemented in our new wheelchair control systems,’ he explains. ‘I get to build prototypes and simulate and test the systems. I spend time riding around on powered wheelchairs with a laptop on my knees prototyping new drive algorithms.’
As well as the technical aspects of his studies, Brian says that the ‘softer’ skills he learned at UC have proved particularly useful in his job so far.
‘My degree taught me how to learn new skills quickly and how to take a lot of information and extract the important details. My job is simply working out how to solve problems quickly.’
Originally from Te Anau, it was after a school trip to Dunedin for a Hands on Science camp that Brian decided on what he wanted to study at University.
‘After a few days playing with Lego robots, I decided Mechatronics was for me,’ he says.
‘I chose the University of Canterbury because of the strong reputation of the College of Engineering and the opportunities for outdoor activities. While I was there, I probably enjoyed the same things every student enjoys about university – moving out of home, meeting great friends that will last throughout my life, experiencing flatting, learning how to cope without sleep for extended periods… I particularly enjoyed becoming involved in the kayaking and tramping clubs, and tutoring Computer Science. Oh, and the odd bit of engineering and building robots!’
Brian advises others who may be considering an Engineering degree: ‘Go for it!’ But he says the most important thing is to ‘find a balance between taking it too seriously and having fun.’