Chandimal Jayawardena received his BScEng(Hons) and MEng in Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, and his PhD in and Robotics from Saga University, Japan in 2006. Chandimal has over 15 years of experience as an academic as well as an engineer. He is a Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (SMIEEE) and currently attached to the Department of Computing and Information Technology, Unitec as a Senior Lecturer. His research interests include robotics, human-robot interaction, Internet of things, and machine intelligence.
Chris Chitty AKA. Dr Robotech a senior tutor in the School of Engineering & Advanced Technology at Massey University in Auckland, has a passion for making robotics exciting to young and old.
Chris has worked on many varied projects including:
- Medical simulators.
- Hyper realistic robotic animals for movies such as Babe, 2000 Leagues and Jacki Chan's "First Strike".
- Extreme sports simulators like Bungy Jump, Water Ski, Wind surfer and of the sheep shearing.
- As Doctor Robotech in the TV show "Let's Get Inventing".
Whether its social media, robotics or integrating coding into biology, Chris has always been finding new ways that technology can transform the teaching and learning of science. This led to him being awarded 1st place in Microsoft's Global Innovative Educator Awards in 2011 and subsequently saw him work with organisations including The Smithsonian Institute and Principals Australia. Since 2011, Chris has also featured as a speaker at a growing number of conferences where he has addressed international audiences of educators, scientists and most recently the global community through his TEDx talk on bringing discovery back into Science Education.
Now the Education Director at The Mind Lab in Auckland, Chris works alongside a team of educators who are transforming science and technology education by creating experiences where science, design, engineering and art are fused together in the same way they are in real life. However, this fusion involves robotics, 3D printing, coding, animation, film, augmented reality and anything else that will make creations more awesome!
Chris Hails has worked for NetSafe since 2009 and specialises in computer security issues dealing with anything from cloned corporate websites to hacked Facebook accounts. After originally training and working as a journalist in the UK he spent many years working as a project manager and has run New Zealand's national cyber security awareness programme.
Dr Hinne Hettema studied theoretical chemistry (PhD 1993) and philosophy (PhD 2012). He currently works as the IT security team lead at the University of Auckland, and is a lecturer in cyber security at Unitec.
As a theoretical chemist, he played with the supercomputers of the time. His first computer was hacked in 1991, and he developed an enduring interest in cyber security. He developed that interest further while working as an IT consultant and architect at EDS, Unisys and Datacom, and currently leads his own security team.
Dr Sarrafzadeh has a PhD in Computing, and years of both academic and industry experience. Currently Professor and Head of Department of Computing at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand, Dr Sarrafzadeh is an experienced academic leader, an established researcher, with extensive industry networks.
John Casey received his PhD in Computer Science from Deakin University in 2008. His research interests include P2P and distributed computing, information retrieval, and data mining.
At the moment John is working as a Lecturer at Unitec Institute of Technology and teaches the Java and Android programming courses.
Mahsa received her PhD in Computer engineering from Massey University in 2013. Her area of research is in natural language processing.
She is the Outreach Development Manager at Unitec Institute of Technology. She is responsible for liaising with industry professionals for in-class workshops and demonstrations, as well as running departmental promotional workshops.
As part of her role, Mahsa has led a push to promote computer science in high schools as a career option.
In 2012 she won Google's Anita Borg Scholarship. She won the Emerging Leader category at the 2013 Women of Influence Awards.
In 2013 she become director of the Auckland branch of Girl Geek Coffees, a group dedicated to supporting girls in technology, computer science and associated fields.
Sam has been at Google Australia since 2009, and seems to be having a pretty rad time. He's worked on an ever-increasing number of different projects since he started back as an intern. In his personal life, he enjoys long board games and energy efficiency projects.
Tanya is the lead presenter on the Gather Workshops team, and she's on a mission to increase the uptake of programming in secondary schools. With a professional background in web development, she is now applying her real-world experience to classroom learning and bridging the gap between schools and industry.