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Campus News : March 2012
The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) has been operating since 1993 and is now one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates. UOWD currently has an enrolment of approximately 3650 students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Business, Finance, Computer Science, Engineering, International Studies and Media & Communications at its campus in Dubai's Knowledge Village. POSTCARD FROM DUBAI FORGETFUL? iPURSE IS THE ANSWER 10 CONNECT :UOW MARCH 2012 CONNECT: UOWD You need never lose your car keys again. Or your wallet. Researchers at the University of Wollongong in Dubai have found a way to keep track of your belongings. It's called the iPurse, a unique handbag made by Dr Mohammad Watfa, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, and his students Manprabhjot Kaur and Rashida Daruwala. The intelligent handbag uses radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) technology to keep track of important items by sending a reminder to your phone when things are taken out. By sticking cheap RFID tags (found on Salik tags for example) on your belongings, the NFC technology in your mobile phone can read what's in your handbag. "RFID is a very common thing but what's unique about this project is that it's more consumer-based and it's an intelligent purse," Dr Watfa said. The project is under patent and has already received interest from international companies who want to look at ways to commercialise the invention. The team thought of the idea when Kaur and Daruwala stated their intentions to base their final-year NEW PRESIDENT EMBODIES GLOBAL UOWD The University of Wollongong in Dubai's new President Professor Ghassan Aouad embodies the institution's multi- cultural flavour and global focus. Professor Aoud was born in the Middle East and educated in Britain, where he completed a degree in Civil Engineering, a Masters in construction and then a PhD in Construction Management and IT at Loughborough University. "I was born in Lebanon, have a British passport and work for an Australian university in the United Arab Emirates," Professor Aouad said. "So you could say I am a reflection of the multi- cultural nature of UOWD, which has staff from 38 countries and students from 95." Professor Aouad joined UOWD in January, having previously been Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation and Dean of the College of Science and Technology at the University of Salford in the UK. CONNECT: UOW caught up with Professor Aouad during his visit to Wollongong in March to meet senior executives and Faculty Deans. He said he hoped to develop even closer ties between UOWD and its parent institution in Australia. project around how people could track lost items because they themselves were always losing things. "Keeping track of lost items is a very common idea but I thought we could use NFC [near field communication] technology with RFID tags for the project," Dr Watfa said. NFC technology is similar to an RFID reader, which is quite expensive, and acts as an antenna for receiving and transmitting signals to the tags. NFC technology is found on many mobile phone models. By sticking RFID tags, which are not very expensive, onto your belongings like wallets, car keys or books, the NFC technology in your mobile phone can track what's in your purse and when items go missing. Dr Watfa and his team also developed an online calendar that can be used in conjunction with Gmail or Hotmail, where you can program your activities and the things you might need for such events. CU "Communication is so important in developing stronger relationships," he said. "We are part of the same 'family' and there a lot of opportunities for us to strengthen our ties, from staff and student exchanges to better aligning UOWD's teaching and research activities with Wollongong and contributing to the University's standing on international league tables. There is also a great opportunity to work closely with the Sydney Business School on its global positioning." UOWD celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, and Professor Aouad said it had an outstanding track record that he intended to develop further through expansion with new academic programs and a strong focus on research activity. UOWD has traditionally concentrated on Business, Finance and Computer Sciences, with the introduction in recent years of Engineering and Media and Communications courses. He intends to explore new course areas including Islamic Banking and Finance, Public Health and Engineering Maintenance, and areas related to his speciality -- the built environment. He also wants to build on UOWD's reputation as a gateway to the United Arab Emirates for Australian businesses, and will be working closely with Australian and New South Wales government agencies to foster stronger ties between the UAE and Australia. He said he was excited to be joining UOW at the beginning of a new era under Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings. "I was certainly aware of Professor Wellings' contribution in his previous role as Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, which became one of the top universities in the UK under his leadership," he said. "I have no doubt that UOW will go places with him as Vice-Chancellor, and I am delighted to be part of it." NH Dr Mohammad Watfa and the iPurse (photo courtesy GULF NEWS) Professor Ghassan Aouad
CONNECT:UOW July 2012