Dr Geoff Rodgers

This award recognises an upcoming entrepreneurial researcher who is making outstanding contributions to business innovation or is creating innovative businesses in New Zealand through technology licencing, start-up creation or by providing expertise to support business innovation.

KiwiNet Norman Barry Foundation Emerging Innovator Award Winner 2017 - Dr Geoff Rodgers, Seismic damping solutions for buildings and joint implant diagnostics

Dr Geoff Rodgers has a strong track record of working closely with industry to develop research outcomes with significant benefit to society. His research has applications in fields from seismic protection system for structures through to medical devices.

Geoff completed his PhD in seismic energy dissipation at the University of Canterbury in 2009, and then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in medical device development at the University of Otago. In 2012 he returned to the University of Canterbury to take up an academic role, and is now an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Mechanical seismic dampers he developed to dissipate kinetic energy of seismic waves penetrating a building structure are in use in a low-damage Hospital complex in Christchurch. He is also working on other devices and deployment opportunities locally and internationally.

Geoff is also developing a new method for early detection of wear and tear of hip joint implants that monitors the sound vibrations transmitted from a patient's hip replacement implants. The acoustic emission monitoring system is a non-invasive sensing technique that records low-level vibrations emitted from the implant during patient motion that make it through tissue to the skin's surface.

By listening to the ultrasonic vibrations of the implant, it is possible to relate them to the condition of the implant, to help Orthopaedic surgeons predict impending failures and manage revision surgery. Early detection of wear and tear may provide opportunities for proactive intervention, reducing the severity of surgery and providing improved patient outcomes

Geoff's approach to technical development, across a range of industry fields, is always pragmatic and realistic, with uptake by industry being a major goal.