Weeding tool to improve bushfire management

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A specialised weed management tool for bush regeneration that can assist in the bush fire recovery effort was one of dozens of innovations on display at a virtual exhibition showcase by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) recently.

Weeding tool to improve bushfire management
The ‘Lever Weeder’ is a leverage-based standing weeder for crowning grasses that has been created by UNSW industrial design student Sabrina Piro.

The ‘Lever Weeder’ is a leverage-based standing weeder for crowning grasses was created by UNSW industrial design student Sabrina Piro in response to the catastrophic Australian bushfire season, to be used by bush regenerators – who work to preserve the Australian bush by restoring its natural ecosystems.

Invasive weed species, in particular, can be an unwanted fuel source for bushfires, and can severely impact the survival of native species. In many cases, bush regenerators don’t have the specialised equipment they need to carry out weed management.

"Invasive weeds have a significant impact on the increased intensity of bushfires," Piro says. "My project was to design a specialised weed management solution for bush regenerators that could improve the efficiency of their practice and overall weed management outcomes."

The initial concepts and prototypes of the lever weeder’s design were developed in consultation with 20-year veteran bush regenerator Lindy Davis.

"Crude models were made in wood before consulting Lindy and my tutors and workshop staff for feedback," Piro says.

"These models then progressed, my design and concept becoming more defined, as I developed steel prototypes. "Lindy has shown great interest in supporting the manufacture of a few of the final prototypes to be used in real bush regeneration work amongst other regenerators."

The lever weeder was on display at the annual Luminocity exhibition launching on UNSW Open Day on September 5. This year, the exhibition was a virtual 360-degree tour that blended reality to reimagine locations around the world using the latest in advanced imaging and sensory technology.

The mixed-reality experience takes the visitor on an exploration of the design journey, beginning at the Red Centre Gallery at UNSW, before branching out to different locations across Sydney and the world where student projects from UNSW’s Built Environment degrees solve urban challenges, from the room to the region.

Visitors experienced the virtual 360-degree tour and explored careers in the built environment. Projects from architecture, interior architecture, city planning, computational design, landscape architecture, industrial design, construction and project management were on display.

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