Tom Ward

Tom completed his Bachelor of Engineering Hons in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland with an Honours project looking at modelling of backspatter from ballistic cranial impact. He joined the Medical Devices and Technologies Group in 2015, completing a Masters thesis focused on the development of hysteresis models for torque measurement in elastomer couplings with an application in rehabilitative robotics with Andrew McDaid.
Tom’s research focused on the characterisation of elastomer couplings for use in rehabilitation robotics. He sought to understand the way elastomers deform under torque and the relationship between this torque and angular displacement, thus enabling the measurement of torque purely through angular displacement. This allows for smaller and lighter sensors, which is important for efficacy in rehabilitation robotics. Tom developed a testing rig to imitate the coupling used in the robots. A motor, load cell and displacement sensor were used to apply load and examine this relationship. From this data, genetic algorithms were used to form a range of models. Models were produced for elastomers made from a range of materials, furthering understanding of their behaviour in this application.
Tom left the group in 2016 to join the Photon Factory as a project manager and senior engineer focused on novel laser micromachining using femtosecond pulses. In addition he is also working in a similar role in a spin off company from the Photon Lab, Orbis, which specialises in at point milk diagnostics for herd health and milk quality.