Fighting crime and honey fraud – 3D desk-top microscope wins supreme engineering award

The Supreme Winner of the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards is a 3D desktop microscope, The Classifynder™, capable of being used in fighting crime, honey fraud, and the study of our ecosystem. The microscope also won the best Practice, Project, and Product category.

The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) organises the annual awards, which represent the best leading-edge technology and engineering in the country. Standards New Zealand was proud to sponsor the supreme award.

The Classifynder™ microscope shows potential

A team of students and experts led by Professor Robert Hodgson at Massey University’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology invented the microscope.

The microschope combines robotics, image processing, and neural-network classifying technology. It can locate, image, and classify pollen that is collected on everyday items like clothing and shoes or when people come into contact or brush against vegetation and pollen spread by the wind. It also has the potential to classify air and soil borne diseases such as facial eczema, potato blight, parasitic worm eggs, and so on.

The microscope is already attracting interest for its potential use in forensic crime scene investigations, studying our ecosystem, authenticating honey types, and countering honey fraud when overseas ‘honey’ is sold off as valuable New Zealand honey. 

Published in engineering.