A specialised weed management tool for bush regeneration is one of dozens of innovations on display at UNSW’s virtual Luminocity exhibition.

The “lever weeder” – a leverage-based standing weeder for crowning grasses – can improve the efficiency of weed management and assist with vital bush regeneration. UNSW industrial design student Sabrina Piro designed it in response to the catastrophic Australian bushfire season for bush regenerators – a small yet essential industry of people 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 bush regenerator Lindy Davis in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.

“Crude models were made in wood before consulting Lindy and my tutors and workshop staff for feedback. These models then progressed, my design and concept becoming more defined, as I developed steel prototypes,” Piro says.

The lever weeder will be on display at the annual Luminocity exhibition launching on UNSW Open Day 5 September.

Image: UNSW