Ken Muston Innovation Challenge Awards

Griffith University


The Ken Muston Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for first year engineering students from Griffith University to be recognised for excelling in the areas of design and creativity in their 1001ENG project.

The 1001ENG project requires students to work together in small groups (4-5 students) to design and build a unique machine to solve an open-ended engineering problem. The exact nature of the problem and solution are in the complete control of the student groups, provided they keep within the constraints given to them.

This project makes up 75% of the total grade for 1001ENG, and in addition to the formal assessment, the students' projects will be judged for the Ken Muston Innovation Challenge Awards.

Award Categories

Prizes are awarded in two categories:

  1. Practical Innovation: awarded to the group that best demonstrates a design which addresses a practical historical challenge. This should be suitably demonstrated during the final presentation.
  2. Entertaining Innovation: awarded to the group that designs and builds the most interesting and entertaining project. This design may not be the most practical solution to a problem, but it is fun and interesting, and just possibly a little silly. And it should still actually work!


Each member of each winning team will receive their own trophy and certificate to attest to their innovation and excellence.

The perpetual trophy will also be inscribed with the details of the projects and names of the winners in each category.

Who was Ken Muston?

Kenneth Alfred Muston was born in 1929 and passed away in September 2015. Ken was a child of the 'Great Depression' and WWII era, when opportunities for professional education were far less available than they are today. He had to leave school after grade 7 to get a job, and while he never had the opportunity to formally study electrical and electronic engineering, throughout his life he was always innovating and inventing ways to solve practical problems, or building bizarre machines just for fun.

Ken would bring together components from everyday household items, a few basic circuits, and almost invariably a high torque motor harvested from a battery drill! His creations automatically opened doors for dogs (and people), hoisted catchers from mowers, capped bottles of home-brew beer, and remotely operated all manner of things. Ken used electromechanical engineering and electronics to solve problems, and it is in this context that Ken's family have worked with staff at Griffith University to create the Ken Muston Innovation Challenge Awards.


Amtac Professional Services Pty Ltd

Amtac Professional Services Pty. Ltd.

Amtac is a south-east Queensland based business, serving clients throughout Australia and Internationally in five main areas:

  • Development of highly specialised web-applications (clients include the NSW EPA, Victorian Government, University of Southern Queensland, and Royal Flying Doctor Service)
  • Provision of web-enabled tools to enhance safety, security and efficiency (e.g. and Plot & Audit)
  • Manufacture of specialised products to complement web-applications (e.g. laser marked QR2id Products, IoT connected sensors, etc.)
  • Security risk management and crime prevention consultancy services
  • Provision of training and professional development programs in crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and security risk management related topics

Amtac's Principal Advisor and Managing Director has a background in electronics, is a member of the Adjunct Faculty in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University, and is Ken Muston's son-in-law.

Ken Muston Innovation Challenge Awards

Ken Muston
Ken Muston
operating his dual battery drill powered hoist
with tilt transition sensing

Ken's Converted Mower
Ken's home-made ride-on lawn mower,
complete with brakes and foot throttle

2016 Winners

Over 100 students were involved in the challenge for 2016, designing and building all manner of vehicles and machines. The standard of the projects was very high, and the students can be rightly proud of their efforts.

Practical Innovation Winners

Aniway Jaurigue, Byron Robinson, Jaden Van Iersel and Shaun Wainwright designed and built the Cultivation Unmanned Ground Vehicle (CUGV). This machine drops seeds into a furrow it ploughs, with the solenoid operated seed drop triggered by sensors detecting planting posts. It features a cleverly engineered plough and a rear sweeper to cover the seed.

Practical Innovation Winners - CUGV
Jaden Van Iersel, Aniway Jaurigue, Shaun Wainwright, Byron Robinson and Dr. Andrew Busch (Course Convener)

Cultivation Unmanned Ground Vehicle (CUGV)

Entertaining Innovation Winners

Sakaria Abdulkadir Hussein, Subhashish Neupane, Brandon Nguyen, Sagar Shyam Sunder and Thilacsan Thiyananthan designed and built the Curiosity 1 sensor robot. The clever and entertaining robot wanders around detecting light levels and temperature, determining which direction to go by sensing the most open space. The proximity sensors pivot back and forth like a pair of eyes looking for the best way to go.

Practical Innovation Winners - CUGV
Sagar Shyam Sunder,Subhashish Neupane, Sakaria Abdulkadir Hussein, Thilacsan Thiyananthan, and Dr. Andrew Busch (Course Convener)

Curiosity 1
Curiosity 1

Entertaining Innovation Commendation

A special commendation award was presented to Chandra Chandra, Darren Krutsinger, Colin Kupferschmid, Jack Martin and Hunter Owen for their SAFEATLAS target acquisition and range finding crossbow.

Practical Innovation Winners - CUGV
Darren Krutsinger, Colin Kupferschmid, Hunter Owen, and Dr. Andrew Busch (Course Convener)