Mechatronic engineering graduate Kerry Halupka took the “road less travelled” when it came to choosing a research path in her Honours year.
The 22-year-old Andy Thomas Scholar opted for a project which brought together the disciplines of engineering, medicine and physiology to help give people the gift of sight.
The motivation was personal and close to home – a mother with a rare eye condition – but the outcome of her research into using insects as a basis for developing bionic vision systems could help millions of people around the world.
Her research caught the judges’ eye at the University of Adelaide Mech Expo in 2011, taking out both the mechatronic section and best overall project.
In early 2012 Kerry spent six weeks in one of India’s poorest regions, volunteering her time at an eye hospital in Denkenhal.
Using technology that we take for granted in the developed world, Kerry assisted in a procedure which costs just $20 to help restore the sight of hundreds of vision-impaired people with cataracts.
Kerry is working as a research assistant in the School of Medical Sciences this year before embarking on her PhD in 2013, continuing her research into bionic vision.