Materials Workshop Speakers


Liam Malone - Facilitator

Paralympic Champion Blade Runner

Liam is a Paralympic Champion Blade Runner. Liam won a silver & two gold medals while breaking the records previously held by Oscar Pistorius at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. The record smashing times in Rio also make Liam New Zealand's fastest 400m runner - legs real or not. Liam has a focus on how technology can enhance human performance and now has his sights set on using technology to become the fastest person on the planet to run 400m ever.


Dr Frances Joseph & Yasir Al-Hillali

Co Lab & AUT

Associate Professor Frances Joseph is Director of Colab, the collaboratory for interdisciplinary inquiry at Auckland University of Technology (AUT)  Frances has led a number of industry related initiatives to build capability and support innovation in emerging fields enabled by new technologies and design-led approaches. She led the establishment of AUT's Textile and Design Lab (TDL) in 2006 where she has subsequently formed a multidisciplinary team and research capability in the field of smart textiles. These new systems allow electronics to be embedded in clothing and have huge potential in sports and rehabilitation areas. 

Yasir Al-Hillali is a postgraduate Engineering student working on research related to sensing and wearable technologies. He has a background in the study of power generation and energy transmission. He has been involved in areas of hardware design for manufacturing, software development, materials testing and more recently, nano-materials within wearable technologies at Colab.

Sport Performance Statement: 

AUT University's Colab in conjunction with its Textile and Design Lab have an established programme of research and development in the smart textiles and wearable technologies fields, which supports applications for sport, health and rehabilitation using state of the art textile technology and multi-disciplinary knowledge and expertise.  


Mark Battley

University of Auckland
Senior Lecturer

Mark has spent most of his career breaking things (sometimes, although not always, deliberately), and then trying to work out how stop them breaking. This includes laboratory testing of materials and structures, computer simulation of product performance, and in-field measurements of sporting equipment from America's Cup boats to bicycles and rowing skiffs. This includes roles in a government research institute, as a private sector consultant, and in universities in Europe and NZ. 

His research interests are mainly related to advanced materials and light-weight structures, particularly fibre reinforced composites. This includes understanding how high-performance structures deform, why and how they fail, and how they interact with their environment and users. His research students have gone on to careers designing sports equipment ranging from America's Cup yachts through to sports shoes and apparel. He is also involved in competing, coaching and administration in endurance sports, particularly distance running.

Sport Performance Statement:

Light-weight materials and structures are integral to many high performance sports. To achieve optimal performance it is crucial to understand how they should behave to maximise performance, how they can be designed and manufactured to achieve this, and how to validate that they deliver the desired performance. 

The Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University of Auckland undertakes fundamental and applied research on materials, manufacturing processes and performance characterisation. This includes new synthetic and bio-based material combinations, manufacturing processes that enhance quality and reduce cost, and techniques to optimise and validate product performance. The expertise and facilities developed through this research can and have been used to develop sports equipment that is light, reliable and cost effective, and that is tailored to the athlete's needs.    


Mark Finch

IMeasureU Limited

Mark Finch is an inventor, with a Masters in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Auckland. After studying Entrepreneurship at Stanford and working at MIT in Boston, Mark founded I Measure U in 2013. I Measure U has won numerous awards over the years and in 2016 Mark was a selected as a semifinalist for New Zealander of the year in the Innovation Category.

Sport Performance Statement:

Using wearable technology and mathematical models to provide an end to end solution in measuring and monitoring professional athlete workload. Specifically to help optimise training workload schedules and precisely manage an injured athlete's return to play. 


Steve Leftly


Steve Leftly is a world-leading expert in the field of electronic textiles and has led research in the wearable technology field for over 18 years, authoring many patents in the field. Steve worked as research leader for the international textile technology firm Canesis developing electronic textiles where he co-invented Softswitch technology. In 2004 he set up Fibretronic Ltd developing ground-breaking textile electronic solutions for many global garment brands, such as Levis, Nike, Adidas, and the North Face. Steve currently leads Sentrix Technology, working on textile based wearable technology products for sensing, performance and actuation applications in the sports markets supplying US, GB, AUS and NZ Olympic teams among others. He is also co-founder of award winning iLume Wearable Lighting technology. Recently he has co-founded and launched a new technology MYOVOLT which is leading the global innovation in wearable Localised Vibration Therapy (LVT) technology. 

Sport Performance Statement:

Applying Local Vibration Therapy technology for reducing recovery times from Sports training and muscle injury.


Tim Smyth

Core Builders Composites
Co-Construction Manager

With over 40 years at the leading edge of composite manufacture and managing construction of racing yachts Tim has been able to identify key technological advances and integrate them into construction.

Tim has been involved in yacht racing throughout his life, both as a competitor and boatbuilder. In 1984 he moved to the U.K. where he became involved in building and sailing racing yachts. From IOR One-Tonners to 50-Footers, the high point of his sailing career was winning the 1989 Admiral's Cup with the U.K. team, having built and sailed on the top-scoring yacht Jamarella. Since 1992, Tim has been involved in the pinnacle of boatbuilding working on America's Cup and Volvo challenges.

As Co-Construction Manager of Core Builders Composites since 2001, Tim's eye for innovation has established CBC at the leading edge. He has instilled a culture of innovation by ensuring that the wider build team is engaged with decisions. His accomplishments include managing the build of OTUSA's wing sailed trimaran USA17 – winner of the America's Cup, establishing Core Builders Composite's permanent facility in Warkworth, building 12 AC45 within one year and the successful defence of the America's Cup in the AC72 Class.

Sport Performance Statement: 

The next challenge is already underway with the build of the AC50 class components for the 35th America's Cup


Todd Gisby

StretchSense Limited

Todd Gisby's role as CTO focuses on promoting our sensor technology and ensuring our IP, expertise, and technical capabilities scale to meet the needs of our rapidly growing markets.

About StretchSense Limited:

StretchSense is a spinout company from the Biomimetics Lab at the University of Auckland. ( Dr Ben O'Brien, A/Prof Iain Anderson and Todd Gisby co-founded the company to make soft sensor technology accessible to technologists and designers who need better methods of capturing human body motion out in the real world.

The team has been working on electroactive polymer technology for over a decade with an emphasis on real world applications. Leading innovators worldwide use our soft devices to measure and characterise forces associated with human body movement. Our sensors capture data from body motion, enabling the next generation of wearable tech and tangible VR and AR user interfaces. Our generators transform body motion into electrical energy to run smart devices, turning wearables into disappearables.

Our team are experts in manufacturing custom stretch sensors and helping our customers integrate them into commercial products. We pride ourselves on solving real problems and solving problems others can't. We can tailor every aspect of our sensing systems, from the physical characteristics of the hardware to the communication methods and analytics.


callaghan ateed
  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00